So, how ‘bout dem O’s? You only get one chance each year to make a first impression in front of the home crowd and the Orioles, unfortunately, did not make a great one in their 2019 opener. Make sure to read my recap of the 8-4 loss to the Yankees if you didn’t get to see the action.
Even bad Orioles teams have managed to win the home opening game. The O’s never lost a home opener in the whole Buck Showalter era. You have to go back to 2010 to find a home opener where they lost. That’s the year where, if you were wondering, they lost on Opening Day in the Trop because Mike Gonzalez blew the, and then lost their home opener because Mike Gonzalez blew the game. It was a bad time.
Although this year’s Orioles won their first two series on the road, there still aren’t really many expectations for them this year. It’s hard to call it a disappointment if they’ve lost Opening Day and the home opener when they won several games in between, and you probably never expected them to win either game against the Yankees anyway. As April goes along, we will start to get a sense of who this team is, what they’re good at doing, and what they’re not good at doing.
The kind of Showalter/Duquette near-daily roster tinkering doesn’t seem to be in the cards for Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde. The players who are in the minors are there for a reason, not just to be capriciously summoned to the big leagues for a day or two to maybe pitch once and otherwise have his whole pitching routine disrupted. They are going to be giving guys chances to succeed... which also means giving them chances to fail.
There was a taste of that failure on Thursday. Chris Davis took an 0-3 with three strikeouts, and saddest of all, the man who pinch hit for him, utility infielder Hanser Alberto, was cheered wildly. Davis remains hitless on the season. Quotes like this aren’t going to last forever:
Speaking after today's game, Brandon Hyde said this about Chris Davis:— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) April 4, 2019
"I know this isn’t the start he wanted to get off to. I’m going to continue to play him, continue to support him, and find the right matchups for him, try to get him off the schneid here."
Mike Wright won’t last forever coming into games to get a few outs and getting no outs at all. Unlike Davis, his contract adds zero complications. There’s a Norfolk rotation full of hungry players who’d take his big league spot.
Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 73 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey or erect his statue at Camden Yards.
Around the blogO’sphere
“Should be a state holiday”: Fans share what makes Orioles Opening Day special (Baltimore Sun)
If Louisiana can have Mardi Gras as a state holiday, there’s no reason that a baseball state couldn’t make the team’s home Opening Day a holiday.
Wrapping up reception for Davis, O’s pitching, and 8-4 loss (School of Roch)
When even the reporter from the team-owned MASN is leading with Alberto receiving cheers solely for pinch hitting for Davis... it can’t be long, can it?
Orioles open at home with a loss, and a big-ticket slugger who looks lost (Washington Post)
In case you haven’t quite seen enough negative words about Davis yet today.
Brandon Hyde seeing early benefits in Orioles defensive versatility (Baltimore Sun)
A week’s worth of baseball is not enough to make sweeping generalizations about anything, let alone about defense, but the small sample size does seem to be good.
We analyzed the value of international signing bonus money (Fangraphs)
Under Dan Duquette and Andy MacPhail, probably at the behest of Peter Angelos, the Orioles famously refused to make significant investments in scouting international amateur prospects. They were missing out on a LOT of chances for value in the aggregate.
Birthdays and anniversaries
Today in 1966, the Orioles released Don Larsen. He was the last active major leaguer who had played for the St. Louis Browns, which became the Orioles on moving here.
In 1979, Earl Weaver won the 1,000th game of his managerial career.
And in 2013, Davis homered for the fourth game in a row to start the season, blasting a grand slam on the way to setting a new record of having 16 RBI after four games.
There are a handful of former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2013-15 reserve catcher Steve Clevenger, 2006 short-timer Winston Abreu, 1958-62 shortstop Ron Hansen, 1955 one-gamer Roger Marquis, and 1956 pitcher Fred Besana.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588), father of modern surgery Joseph Lister (1827), educator Booker T. Washington (1856), actor Spencer Tracy (1900), actress Bette Davis (1908), actor Gregory Peck (1916), Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama (1955), musician Pharrell Williams (1973), and actress Hayley Atwell (1982).
On this day in history...
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 5 - or at least, unless something happens later on the Orioles off day. Have a safe Friday.