Baltimore Orioles fall to Atlanta in spring opener

As we go along in these spring games, keep in mind that the Baltimore Orioles (and other teams) don’t usually bring their starting players on the road. So this afternoon’s 5- loss to Atlanta, and starter Chandler Shepherd’s outing, could look deceiving. Shepherd’s line: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 0 K.

After his outing Shepherd acknowledged that he has an opportunity to compete for a starting job, and needs to take advantage of it better than he did today (Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Obviously there’s a lot of names in that lineup that I’ve been watching on TV for a long time. Yeah, it was super cool, but at the end of the day I just had to go out and focus on what I was working on in my game. It’s cool to get that opportunity, but I’ve got to go out and take advantage of my outings.

Shepherd loaded the bases in the last of the first right off the bat. Duvall’s RBI-single Gabe Atlanta a 1-0 lead. Atlanta would also add two sac fly-RBI later in the inning, running the score to 3-0. Again, not the start Shepherd wanted. But he was slated for two innings this afternoon, and he pitched two innings. If there’s a silver lining it would be that they didn’t have to pull him prior to then.

Ty Blach followed Shepherd into the game, and provided a much better result. He gave up a run in the third when Duvall grounded into a double-play with the bases loaded. You don’t want to surrender runs, however you’ll take that all day long. Especially in spring training, it’s good to see guys live to fight another day by getting out of a jam. Remember folks, it’s not about wins and losses. Especially in the road games.

Atlanta would add an additional run on a sac fly-RBI in the last of the fifth, sending the Birds down to defeat, 5-0. Keep in mind however that while Shepherd’s shaky outing set the tone, there are two coins to every game. When you don’t score any runs you can’t win. The Orioles can take solace in the fact that often times Atlanta hitters got on base via softly-hit bloopers, but they still got on base.

The O’s will host their “spring home opener” tomorrow afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium as the Boston Red Sox come to town. Wade LeBlanc gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Mike Cazza. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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