In his first start of the spring, Sean Newcomb allowed two runs in the first inning, surrendering two straight singles to lead off the game. He then fell victim to a dropped ball on a stolen base and a passed ball that allowed in a run, then uncorked a wild pitch that brought another run home and staked the O’s to a 2-0 lead. A visibly frustrated Newcomb worked around this sloppy play to induce two groundouts and strike out old friend Rio Ruiz.
Travis d’Arnaud cut the lead in half to lead off the second inning, mashing a home run that appeared to leave the stadium and brought the score to 2-1.
Newcomb was able to deftly shake off the bad juju from the first inning, as he went into attack mode in the second. He looked much more composed during this frame, striking out the side and dropping a couple of filthy curveballs. If he is going to land the rotation spot that appears to be his to lose, that is the Sean Newcomb that needs to stick around.
Much has been made recently about prospect Bryce Ball, who got the start at DH. He did nothing to quell the murmurs surrounding him in the second inning, as he pulverized this ball off old friend Bruce Zimmemann.
Bryce Ball bomb ties up the game. pic.twitter.com/zMc59TJLDd— handlit33 (@handlit33) February 26, 2020
As you can see, the power is real. Ball is obviously not going to make the Opening Day roster, but he has an opportunity to keep establishing himself as a guy to watch.
Touki Toussaint, in his first outing of the spring, replaced Newcomb in the third and worked two quick innings, allowing just one hit. Touki’s path back to the big leagues will require him to leapfrog a handful of other high-upside arms, but today was a good start.
Chris Rusin, a fringe bullpen candidate to fill the lefty role Newcomb might vacate, didn’t do himself any favors in the fifth inning by allowing two runs on three hits, allowing the Orioles to re-take the lead, 4-2.
The Braves got one back in the sixth, coming on behalf of an Adeiny Hechavarria RBI single. Patrick Weigel gave up a leadoff double in the Baltimore half of the sixth, but otherwise kept his line clean for two innings and dropped some nasty breaking pitches. Though his velocity was staying in the low 90s, he strengthened his bid to see some time in the big league bullpen at some point in 2020.
Drew Waters struck out looking twice, including once to end the game.
The Braves will face the Cardinals tomorrow at 1:05pm.