It starts. Another season is upon us, and it could end in all kinds of different ways. The Orioles could win the World Series, for crying out loud. That's not just insane spring optimism. Many, many things could break right and this team could win the World Series. That's pretty cool.
There will be 162 games in this regular season, but it all begins with just one, today. The O's ended their 2013 season against the Red Sox and they'll be beginning the 2014 season against those same Red Sox. The Boston club has won a World Series in the intervening time, which causes continual heartburn across Birdland. I hate those guys. Baseball hate, mind you. They might not be terrible people. They might, though.
Like it or not, that's a formidable offense they bring with them wherever they go, even without Jacoby Ellsbury. Amazingly, Orioles Opening Day starter Chris Tillman has only allowed one home run to a member of the current Red Sox. If we're lucky, that won't change today. Their hitters have a total of 145 plate appearances against Tillman and a .501 OPS. Wow! I expected to look at that and see he's been terrible against them. This has not been the case.
The O's will face off against the man who was their nemesis for a long time, Jon Lester. That was in the dark times before Showalter. Now they have a chance. Even Adam Jones has walked eight times against Lester in 61 plate appearances. New Oriole Nelson Cruz has faced Lester 24 times and batted .455/.500/.909. That's a 10-for-22 with two doubles, a triple, and two homers. Matt Wieters has tripled off Lester, as well he ought, since he's better batting right-handed.
The orange carpet will be rolled out. The entire Red Sox team and coaching staff, all the way down to the assistant strength and conditioning coach, will suffer under the withering vamp of the guitar riff to Beck's "Loser". We can hope it will be a rain of boos, that the mysterious rationing of Opening Day tickets has led to actual Orioles fans buying them and not re-selling them.
Spring training sucks. It's finally over. Real baseball is here. Go Orioles.