I would not have been surprised to wake up this morning and discover that I was in an alternate universe: some kind of Twilight Zone thing where the Orioles are 3-0 but I read the newspaper and it's talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger being the president of the United States of Americanada, and the only person who remembers anything being wrong is me. This is probably a sign that I have an overactive imagination, which is the same sort of thing that also allows me to sit here and envision wild scenarios where the Orioles keep winning baseball games in April, and months beyond April.
Today is the home opener for the O's. I remember over the offseason, Stacey and I lamented that the Orioles were opening on the road, because the home opener loses its luster when, like last year, you've already been exposed to a terrible series of baseball before the team comes home. Instead, the Birdland faithful flooding the downtown area can go about their business with a little swagger, knowing that we are in sole possession of first place in the AL East. I love baseball.
The Tigers are coming to town for this series, having opened up with a 1-2 record against the Yankees in a series where Tigers pitchers surrendered nine home runs, and Tigers hitters added another five. Their lineup is led by the always-dangerous Miguel Cabrera, who's coming off a year where he batted .328/.420/.622 and came in 2nd in MVP voting to Josh Hamilton. Cabrera's had an OBP of .400 or higher in three of the past five seasons. The O's have had a total of two .400+ OBP seasons from all batters since 2000. Yikes.
The pitching matchup today is Rick Porcello for the Tigers against Jake Arrieta for the Orioles. I dislike Porcello because I remember him being mentioned as a competitor for ROY when Brad Bergesen debuted, with Porcello ultimately finishing in 3rd, but also not taking a line drive off his shin. His 2010 ERA was a full run higher than in 2009, so hopefully we start him off on a terrible note for 2011. He won't have to contend with Tiger-killer Luke Scott, who's still day-to-day with a groin strain.
Arrieta struck out 52 batters in 100.1 innings last season, but walked 48. That's similar to his walk rate at every level of the minors, but his K rate is usually twice that. If Arrieta gets the strikeout pitch going, he should have a nice year. If he doesn't, he might find himself in Norfolk as other pitchers get healthy.
Nothing against Detroit, but it's now their destiny to be completely flattened by this nascent Orioles juggernaut. The sun is shining, the weather pleasant, and our Orioles are about to take the field with a perfect record. Life doesn't get much better than this. Go O's!