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Orioles Opening Day game thread: at Red Sox, 7:35

The 2020 Orioles season is finally beginning, four months later than anyone could have imagined.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

One of those things that some people love to say about a baseball season is that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. A 162-game season may not perfectly sort out the good teams from the mediocre, and the mediocre teams from the bad, but it does a good job. The 2020 season, due to everything that has happened in the world and in the USA for the last six months, is going to be a sprint rather than a marathon, and it starts tonight.

No one expects that this sprint will end up with the Orioles anywhere close to the leaders. There is a good reason for that. The team does not have many good players. They made little effort in acquiring good players for 2020, and in fact actively divested themselves of some good players in order to try to stock up on pitching prospects in the lower levels of the minors. When the switch might flip to “let’s try to be good again” is unclear.

Most, if not all, of the assorted computer simulations that predict the outcome of baseball seasons believe the Orioles will be the worst team in MLB over these 60 games, with a record somewhere around 21-39. Humans have been predicting fewer than 20 wins, with some people who think they are funny joking about whether the Orioles will even manage to win double digit games.

If this season had gone off as schedule in late March, with no one ever having heard of COVID-19, it would be hard to be excited about this team. It is even harder to be excited about the prospect of a baseball season when more than 1,000 Americans have died of the virus in each of the past three days, when scattered players across the league are still testing positive and experiencing symptoms, and so on.

It’s like, is this even a good idea? Even with all of the precautions, even with no fans, there are still risks, and even if teams mostly dodge all of the risks, players getting a quick turnaround on tests while in many parts of the country people wait a week or more for crucial results is not something to feel great about. It’s not fun to try to think about baseball in the middle of all of these things.

Still, with all of the concerns, I’m still glad baseball is back, and even though I expect nothing at all from this Orioles team, I’ll be glad to watch them for the next two months and I’ll be glad to share this season on Camden Chat with fellow O’s fans. Maybe they’ll even surprise us and start things off with a win.

Orioles lineup

  1. Austin Hays - CF
  2. Anthony Santander - RF
  3. José Iglesias - SS
  4. Renato Núñez - DH
  5. Chris Davis - 1B
  6. Hanser Alberto - 2B
  7. Rio Ruiz - 3B
  8. Pedro Severino - C
  9. DJ Stewart - LF

That’s the lineup in support of Tommy Milone, who does come with the feel-good story of going from non-roster invite to Opening Day starter. That story will only continue feeling good if he pitches at least half-decently, otherwise his being the 2020 Opening Day starter will just be the first sign of a disaster that is to come.

Red Sox lineup

  1. Andrew Benintendi - LF
  2. J.D. Martinez - DH
  3. Rafael Devers - 3B
  4. Xander Bogaerts - SS
  5. Kevin Pillar - RF
  6. Christian Vázquez - C
  7. Michael Chavis - 1B
  8. Jackie Bradley Jr. - CF
  9. José Peraza - 2B

The Red Sox starter is Nathan Eovaldi, who at least based on his 2019 performance is one of the few starters in all of MLB who is about on the same tier as Milone. The Sox lineup probably won’t end up missing Mookie Betts in those games where they are feasting on Orioles pitchers, though we’ll see how they end up doing against teams who actually tried to not have a horrible starting rotation.

If you missed it, there was one small piece of Orioles news earlier today. Pitcher Hector Velazquez cleared waivers and has been removed both from the 40-man roster (which now has 39 players) and the 60-man player pool (now 55 players). If your response to that news is, “Who?” that is the correct answer.