Baltimore Orioles: How does camp translate to Opening Day?

Buck Showalter‘s Baltimore Orioles have approximately a week-and-a-half left in Grapefruit League play. So use this as your now almost weekly reminder that wins and losses still don’t mean anything at this point. The O’s will finish up Grapefruit League play next Thursday against Detroit at Ed Smith Stadium, head to Norfolk, VA on Friday to take on the Tides (what amounts to an intersquad scrimmage in a sense), and then head home to Baltimore for Opening Day on April 3rd.

But if wins and losses don’t mean anything, why am I writing game recaps and giving analysis? It’s spring training for me as well, folks! In fact, every year about this time I read my game recaps and I wonder if I’ve “lost it” in a sense. It always seems like last year’s game recaps and analysis were so much better. But the fact is that there’s nary any ebb or flow to these articles, just as there’s nary any ebb or flow to these games. It all goes hand-in-hand.

Individual game performances are more important at this stage than wins and losses, and we’ve seen quite a few good ones. And a few lackluster as well. And the final roster will reflect that, as will the minor league rosters. But how does what the Orioles are doing now translate once the lights come on for real?

It all boils back down to fundamentals. Are cut off men hit, are throws going back into the correct base, that type of thing. We know that this team is going to hit for some power, so that’s all but a given. But it’s the intangibles that win or lose games. Intangibles like I listed above.

While Oriole pitching got beaten around yesterday in Fort Myers, Now whether or not anyone who saw action in that game ends up on the 25-man roster is another story. Wade Miley was supposed to start, but he was scratched due to an illness.

And that can be a problem as well this time of year. There’s always one or two teams who seem to have a flu virus ravage their clubhouse. Chris Davis had something last week, and now Miley was scratched with an illness as well. So fundamentals are great to preach, but meaningless if guys aren’t on the field.

Nevertheless, if results are any indication I suspect that fundamentals have translated over in the regular season through most of Buck Showalter’s camps. The line between winning and losing is so thin in baseball, and it’s fundamentals that put certain teams over the top. So while the players need to remain relaxed in the spring training atosphere for the next week-and-a-half or so, they also want to ensure that they’re playing the game fundamentally correct. Because in less than two weeks wins and losses will in fact matter.

The Orioles will return to Sarasota this afternoon to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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