Spring Training Trip: Days #2 and #3

Day #2 – 03/07/15

·      We ate breakfast/lunch. .  . um . . . somewhere.  That’s not an indictment of the restaurant we ate it which completely fine.  It was just we ended up there unexpectedly and nobody can seem to remember what it was called.  It is the main square on Lido Beach.  Ask for the place with the good Salmon Salad.

·      Last year it was “cool” (read: less than 70 degrees) for our entire trip, so when it was pretty cool (like non-shorts weather) to start the day I figured we were in for more of the same.  Turns out that it was just a morning breeze and by the time we were done with lunch, it felt like a nice May game in Baltimore weather wise.

·      Lots of Red Sox fans as expected.  In general, the fans that live down here or come down here are far less annoying then the bandwagoners that (used to?) fill OPACY each summer.  At the same time, I could do without their presence at “home games” altogether.  A lot of them were very amused by the “O!” during the anthem.

·      Bud Norris did not have much in the way of command.  He was either missing the zone of completely or leaving balls up and over..  He had nice zip on his fastball and threw at least a pair of quality sliders, but he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is.  Not exactly a shock for his first start of the spring.

·      It should be illegal to face knuckleballers in back-to-back spring training games.  Steve Wright looked okay and seemed to be mixing in a fastball with the knuckler, which kept O’s hitters off balance.  His knuckle ball didn’t stick out to me as being anything special, but he was able to succeed by mixing things up.

·      E-Rod looked good but I am not sure he looked as good as his line might otherwise suggest.  He was mainly relying on a fastball and I have my doubts his fastball will fare as well as it did here in May against a good Major League team.  In any event, I am not sure it matters.  Duquette gave value to get value and sometimes you need to do that.

·      I came away feeling good about both Bundy and Harvey.  Both prospects showed glimpses of plus stuff and had good, repeatable deliveries.  We have seen Bundy a few times between spring training, Bowie, and the majors.  Tim and I both agreed that his first inning of work was the best we’ve seen from him.  It does not seem impossible that one or both could be a late season option out of the pen,

·      It is generally not a good idea to read too much into spring training pitching performances.  It’s certainly not a good idea to read anything into offensive performances.  Having said that, most of the Oriole hitters looked fine but Evereth Cabrera did not have a good day at the plate.  He was chasing a lot and didn’t seem to be locked in.  He’s definitely struggling out of the gate but as said, that probably doesn’t mean much.

·      Dinner was at Walt’s Fish Market.  Solid drinks, but food was only okay.  I blame myself.  I made the mistake of ordering the crab cakes just to compare and they were subpar.  That’s on me though, as everything else we got was good.

Day #3 – 03/08/15

·      With the O’s traveling south to face the Twins, we took the day off from baseball.  Well, almost.  Tim and I still spent a fair amount of time watching the gam on MLB.tv because why not?

·      I know people are tired of hearing explanations/excuses for Ubaldo's performances, but he says he was using some mechanical tweaks that he had been working on during bullpen sessions but had yet to use in games until today.  If so, his 5 K's have to be encouraging.  No, it still wasn't a good outing but Ubaldo - like all pitchers - shouldn't be judged on his ST outings.  Paredes and Flaherty both built on their hot stats to the Grapefruit League.

·      The weather was awesome.  We couldn’t have picked a better day to go to the beach instead of the stadium.  80-degree weather and the sun was out the vast majority of the day.  Probably spent too much time at the beach as evidenced by my sunburns but it was that kind of day where you didn’t want to go inside.  White beaches, clear skies, blue water, and a cold drink in your hand – what more could you ask for?

·      Breakfast was at the fabulous Toasted Mango, which became an instant favorite from our trip last year.  Our other brother, Phil, is here for the weekend and thought it was just “okay” but he doesn’t know what he is talking about.  You can't get a more consistently quality breakfast anywhere else in Sarasota.  Dinner was at the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill.  Good view of the water and nice set up.  The menu was somewhat limited but the food itself was good.  Not a place to go out of your way for, but good stuff still.