In my continuing non-linear recap of my Spring Training trip, I present a few items from the first game we attended in Sarasota. The Pirates came down I-75 from nearby Bradenton to play a night game at Ed Smith Stadium.
For this game, I had good seats (I checked Stubhub.com and got a good deal on tickets in the field boxes on the visitor's side) but the weather was not ideal. It was chilly and windy and got more so as the evening wore on. I was not dressed for it but we did manage to hang in there for 5 innings.
Some notes from the game:
- Miguel Tejada got the start at third and did not look very comfortable there. He made the plays but was not smooth. As it stands, he is probably about as good as Melvin Mora was for most of last season and you have to figure that he will get better. Big arm on Tejada still.
- Chris Tillman got the start and was effective (2 perfect innings with 3 Ks) but was a bit wild and ran the count to 3-2 a few times.
- Adam Jones clubbed an opposite field homer in the 3rd providing the most exciting offensive moment of the night.
- On a shallow popup to center, Adam Jones ran under it and seemed to call for the ball but Robert Andino was running at full speed from shortstop and ran into Jones' left arm as he made the catch. Jones didn't drop the ball but had a few words for Andino afterwards.
- Starting 2B Blake Davis hit a rocket to Aki Iwamure at second that bounced off his knee and rolled away into foul territory behind first base. Davis was flying out of the box and was rounding second before anyone got to the ball. It looked like he had a good shot at taking third on a close play but Juan Samuel held him up and Davis put on the brakes and scrambled back to second. Samuel was lustily booed as he denied us all a chance to see an exciting play at third.
- Mike Gonzalez started out well but looked uncofortable pitching out of the stretch once runners were on base.
- Jake Arrieta was wild and had a hard time finding the plate.
Again, it was unseasonably cold once the sun went down, low-50's at best, so we left early. But even a cold baseball game is better than spending the evening at home.