The Orioles are just a few days away from hitting the field, in a game, for the first time in 2020.
They’ll play 33 games, including split-squad games, before they head to Baltimore for the season opener against the Yankees on March 26. Before that day, though, there will be a few games with some interesting storylines across the board. While starting lineups fluctuate a ton, there are still a few things to note moving forward.
Here are a few games to pay attention to as the spring moves along:
Sat. Feb. 22 @ Braves
It makes sense to start at the first one, right?
The Orioles will kick off their spring training against the Braves in North Port, Florida on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Chandler Shepherd, a 27-year-old who appeared in five games in Baltimore last season, will get the start. He threw 19 innings and allowed 23 hits and 14 earned runs last year, while opponents racked up a 1.526 WHIP and 10.9 hits-per-nine innings against him.
While the Orioles aren’t likely to see former standout Nick Markakis so early in the spring, it’s always exciting to get a glimpse of the club for the first time — especially if Adley Rutschman hits the field.
Tue. March 3 @ Nationals
The Battle of the Beltway gets some Florida love, as the Orioles will get a look at the defending champions in West Palm Beach.
All-time, the Orioles own a 41-33 advantage over the Nationals in 74 regular-season games played. Over the last five seasons, though, the Orioles and Nationals have evenly split a total of 24 games.
The game won’t be broadcasted on television, but anytime Baltimore and Washington get together is sure to be a fun afternoon.
Fri. March 6 @ Yankees
The Orioles will get their first look at the AL East favorites on March 6, when they head north to Tampa for a 6:35 first pitch against the Yankees.
Baltimore opens the season at home against New York a few weeks later, where it will look to improve on a horrendous 2-17 mark against the Bronx Bombers last season.
The Orioles had the worst pitching staff in baseball last season and allowed an ERA of 5.59, a number not helped by the Yankees, who scored 151 runs in 19 games against the Orioles.
After the first series of the season, the Orioles went 0-16 against the Yankees and allowed 136 runs in 16 games — an average of 8.5 runs per game.
Thu. March 12 vs. Twins
While this game holds no real significance in the grand scheme of things, it’s an important landmark for two reasons: First, watching the Orioles against a legitimate playoff team is always an interesting task, if only to see how some younger players handle one of baseball’s best teams.
Second, this marks the date two weeks before the Orioles start their season against the Yankees at Camden Yards.
While there might not be any grand significance to the game itself, per se, this is an important date in that we’ll begin to see, if we haven’t already, what the potential big league team could look like.
Mon. March 23 vs. Mets
Lastly, the Orioles will end their spring training at home in a day game against the Mets. This is right around the time the roster will be finalized and there will be a pretty good idea of what the rotation and starting lineup will look like.
Three days from this point, the Orioles will head back home to face another New York team — this one much better than the Mets.
But while March 23 might seem far off, it’ll be here sooner than it seems.
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