The Atlanta Braves fell to the Baltimore Orioles in Grapefruit League play yesterday afternoon. It was Sean Newcomb’s turn to try to earn one of the final rotation spots.
For the second time since starting Grapefruit League play, the Atlanta Braves were taking on the Baltimore Orioles. In the first game, Felix Hernandez was the talk of the game after having a good performance in his first-ever appearance as a member of the Atlanta Braves. In the second game, another pitcher competing for one of the final rotation spots, Sean Newcomb, got his turn.
The group of pitchers vying to make the rotation include Newcomb, Hernandez, Bryse Wilson, and Kyle Wright. Just taking a quick glance at the names listed and it’s safe to assume Newcomb is likely the odds on favorite to earn one of the final two spots. With how Hernandez looked in his first start, he’s clearly in the thick of the race. Wilson didn’t look great in his first start, but he has more than enough time to make up for that. Wright, who didn’t start, but pitched two innings against the Twins, looked very good. Newcomb needed a good start in his first appearance of the Spring.
In Newcomb’s first inning, things got off to a rocky start almost immediately. Newcomb gave up back-to-back singles to start the inning. A stolen base from the Orioles would put runners on second and third. This is things got wonky. Travis D’arnud let a ball get past him, allowing the Orioles to score to take a 1-0 lead. On the next pitch, Newcomb threw a wild pitch to make the score 2-0. After calming down some, Newcomb would eventually get out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
Sean Newcomb’s second inning was the polar opposite of how his first-inning went. Newcomb had a one-two-three inning by striking out all three batters looking. It was a much more composed, calm Sean Newcomb that took care of the Orioles in order.
Newcomb’s day ended after the second inning. His line for the day was 2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 4 strikeouts and no walks. A very strange line for Newcomb who showed how talented he can be, but also, how inconsistent he can be. That shouldn’t alarm the Braves, or fans, with this being his first start of the Spring. If Newcomb can be the guy who pitched the second inning, he will lock down the fifth and final rotation spot.
Touki Toussaint, a guy who isn’t getting much talk for the rotation, came on after Newcomb’s exit. Toussaint would pitch two innings, allowing 1 hit while giving up no walks and striking out one. Toussaint, who has experience starting with the Braves, could be a darkhorse name to make the rotation. He certainly has the stuff to be one of the best pitchers on the Braves staff. Let’s hope Touki can put it all together this Spring.
The Braves are back in action this afternoon with the St. Louis Cardinals. Felix Hernandez will get his second start of the Grapefruit League. He will be looking to build off his solid first start. The first pitch is at 1:05 from Northport.