The Baltimore Orioles played the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon in Sarasota for the eighth and final time this spring. With MLB going to “pod scheduling” in the Grapefruit League to cut down on travel, these two got together a lot due to their proximity. You have to play someone. They sent Matt Harvey out for the final time in the spring, and with semi-decent results. Harvey’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
Harvey of course is going to be the Birds’ number two starter, and will get the nod Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. Baltimore-native Bruce Zimmerman will start game three, Manager Brandon Hyde announced before the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
He’s pitched outstanding in camp. Really feel like he’s had a really good spring training. He’s had some good starts here, he’s pitched outstanding on the back field that you guys haven’t seen, in a B game and some other things that he’s done.
I really like his stuff. I think this guy’s a four-pitch guy, he’s pounded the strike zone all spring, his velocity’s ticked up, his breaking balls have been sharper, and he’s healthy and ready to go. So he’s earned it with how he’s pitched this spring and looking forward to watching him pitch.
As for today’s game, maybe it’s not shocking that two teams who have seen one another seven other times this spring would play a ho-hum type of game today. They’ve certainly gotten to know one another’s rosters, almost to the point of having a joint camp. Every time you turned around the O’s were either going to Bradenton, or Pittsburgh was coming to Sarasota.
The Orioles will close Grapefruit League play tomorrow at Ed Smith Stadium against Tampa (in a game which won’t be covered by local media). Bruce Zimmerman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Rich Hill. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.