Here it is folks – the moment for which Baltimore Orioles fans have waited for some time! Well, maybe not; but needless to say, it’s something. This afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota we’re going to play the biggest baseball game in the history of western civilization – well, for this year anyways! It’s the Orioles against the Minnesota Twins in the opener of the Florida Grapefruit League.
I wrote on Thursday that Drew Rom will get the start this afternoon. And again folks, that means relatively little more than the face value of the statement. Again as I’ve said, managers have a rotation of pitchers for each spring game. It’s just Rom’s turn to start things off.
I would expect the Orioles “starters” to play a few innings. Maybe two or three at-bats. I say this every year, but it’s worth nothing again that these games are played partially to help players get their timing back at the plate. Pitchers and catchers are about a week ahead of position players. So even the most seasoned veteran hitter may struggle at the plate early in the spring due to his timing being off. So if you see a few goose eggs on stat lines today, don’t fret!
Once guys get into the grind of playing however, all of that evens out. And the first week of spring games gives the Orioles a decent turn through the gulf coast. They’ll see Tampa, Toronto, and Pittsburgh and Detroit twice (including tomorrow in Lakeland).
But it all starts this afternoon against the Minnesota Twins at Ed Smith Stadium. The aforementioned Drew Rom gets the start for the homestanding Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Louie Varland. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.