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Orioles Opening Day lineup reveals Seth Smith as leadoff hitter

The game is still a few hours away, but for now, we can look at the first Orioles lineup of the year. Is it what you expected?

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Your Orioles leadoff hitter - for Opening Day, at least.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The first Orioles lineup of the year doesn’t mean a whole lot headed forward, if recent history is any indication. The Orioles, for a variety of different reasons, used 125 different batting orders to get through the 2016 season. For this year, we can already be fairly sure that, with a lefty pitching for Toronto in the second game, there will be at least two changes from the first game’s lineup to the second one.

But there’s still something special about the Opening Day lineup, isn’t there? It’s got meaning because it’s one of the last signs, short of the first pitch of the game actually being thrown, that Orioles baseball is back.

With that in mind, your Opening Day Orioles lineup to kick off the 2017 season looks like this:

  1. Seth Smith - RF
  2. Adam Jones - CF
  3. Manny Machado - 3B
  4. Chris Davis - 1B
  5. Mark Trumbo - DH
  6. Welington Castillo - C
  7. Hyun Soo Kim - LF
  8. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
  9. J.J. Hardy - SS

With Kevin Gausman pitching thanks to Chris Tillman’s shoulder problems.

Is this the lineup you expected or wanted? I have to say that I’m a little disappointed to see Kim as far down as he is, after he lead the team in on-base percentage last season. That’s the guy you absolutely bat leadoff. I’m also a little surprised that Castillo is ahead of Kim.

If you want to go over the lineup and nitpick according to modern baseball thinking, you certainly can. My own preference would be for Machado and Jones to have their places switched. But I think it’s safe to say that Buck Showalter knows a thing or two about baseball and he’s done pretty well with his time in Baltimore, so who am I to doubt him?

In a way, this makes tomorrow’s lineup even more interesting. Is Joey Rickard going to step in to lead off when Smith is on the bench against a lefty? Will it be Craig Gentry dropping into that leadoff spot against lefties instead? There will probably be a lot of juggling no matter what happens as the season goes on.

The Orioles most frequently used lineup last year was used for nine games, and they only had two others used for five games or more. Things will always be changing.