Spring Training Game 16: Orioles at Phillies

Brian Matusz tries to keep his good Spring going against the Phils, while – perhaps in more important news – Brian Roberts is getting back to some baseball related activities. I don’t know if he can be ready for Opening Day, but hopefully he won’t miss much time if not*.

* Remember how I said that people would use Roberts being out as an excuse if the O’s offense struggles to start the season? Happening already: “Orioles need Roberts badly, have a grapefruit league lows in BA (.247) and OBP (.303) entering today.” That’s from MLB’s Orioles beat writer Brtt Ghiroli. I don’t mean to pick on her – she’s done a fine job – I just thought it was amusing.

The Good:

* Matusz: 5.1 IP, 2 walks, 6 K’s, and nary a hit. I’ve been saying all off-season that I think he’ll be the team’s best pitcher by the end of the year. Might be by the start of the year too.

* The bullpen: Will Ohman, Jim Johnson, Dennis Sarfate, and Ross Wolf combined for 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Great pitching performance all around for the team.

* Robert Andino doubled and walked while batting lead-off, and also stole a base. Doesn’t matter how good his Spring is, he still has a .264 career OBP and isn’t likely to get that over .300 this season.

The Bad:

* Josh Bell singled twice at the plate in three trips, but also made a throwing error at third.

* The offense was lack-luster, managing just two run on 7 hits and 3 walks.

The O’s improve to 6-10 for the Spring with their 2-0 victory. If the Birds can start putting some runs on the board (they’ve scored an ML low 3.88 runs per game this Spring, with a – by far ML low – OBP of .301), then they might have something. The pitchers are striking out batters at a rate of 7.58 per nine (second highest for all teams) and walking just 2.91 per nine (sixth lowest rate). Hopefully they can carry that kind of success through to the regular season.