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Friday Bird Droppings: Still recovering from a wild Orioles opener

The O’s were equal parts amazing and frustrating in their first game of 2023, but a win is a win. 162-0 or bust!

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Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
I think this Adley guy might be pretty good.
Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Phew. It’s only been one game and the Orioles have already put their fans through the emotional wringer.

In case you missed any of the wild Opening Day action, check out Mark Brown’s recap of the roller coaster of a contest. It was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, with the O’s looking like a World Series contender one minute and a struggling bottom-feeder the next.

There was so much to like about the 2023 Orioles’ first impressions. The offense gave a thoroughly well-rounded effort, with eight of their nine starters reaching base at least twice apiece. They showed off their power (two homers), patience (nine walks), and blazing speed (a whopping five stolen bases, all uncontested). I’ll sign up for that performance any day of the week.

There were also, unfortunately, some causes for concern. The bullpen struggled mightily, turning a once-comfortable six-run lead into a nail-biting one-run game, which perhaps wasn’t a total shock, considering that two primary setup men (Dillon Tate and Mychal Givens) are injured and Félix Bautista is shaking off the rust after a late start to spring training. The more unpleasant surprise was how shaky the Orioles’ defense looked, especially the outfielders, who misplayed several catchable balls into extra-base hits. Great fielding was one of the keys to the 2022 Orioles’ success, so any kind of defensive backslide would spell trouble for the 2023 Birds.

When it comes down to it, though, Adley Rutschman might be capable of carrying this team on his back. The Orioles’ superstar in the making, playing his first Opening Day, made all sorts of history with a 5-for-5, four-RBI performance that included a first-inning home run. My goodness, this guy is otherworldly, and the Orioles seem like they’ll never be out of contention as long as he’s on the roster.

Normally I get annoyed by the usual open date that follows Opening Day, but in this case it’s probably a good thing the O’s are off today. We still need time to recover from that game. The Orioles and Red Sox will be back in action tomorrow at 4:10 in Boston, with Dean Kremer making his season debut for the Birds. What could they possibly do for an encore?


Adley Rutschman collects five hits and four RBIs on 2023 Opening Day -
Rutschman was apparently a nervous wreck before his first Opening Day game. Ugh, yeah, it showed. Only six times on base? A more calm and collected player would’ve had seven.

Rutschman’s first Opening Day is one for the record books in Orioles’ 10-9 win (updated) - School of Roch
Brandon Hyde continued his pregame routine of walking to the ballpark, despite the bitterly cold temperatures in Boston. Brandon, just call an Uber. Nobody will judge you.

Orioles’ Kyle Gibson embracing new roles: Opening Day starter, leader, team dad - The Athletic
Kyle Gibson’s teammates say he’s become the new team dad. I don’t know, though. I read this whole article and Gibson didn’t make a single dad joke. Step up your pun game, Kyle!

After volunteering to do so, Orioles CEO John Angelos indicates he will not be sharing club’s finances after all – Baltimore Sun
If you thought we could get through even one game of the season without John Angelos calling into a radio show and saying befuddling things, you thought wrong.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Just one person with a March 31 birthday has ever played for the Orioles: the late left-hander Dave Koslo (b. 1920, d. 1975), who pitched three games for the inaugural 1954 Birds.

The Orioles have played six regular season games on this date in history, going 3-3. That included Opening Day wins in 2003 and 2014. The former was better known as the Snow Game, when an out-of-nowhere flurry wreaked havoc, causing Jay Gibbons to lose a fly ball in the sea of white and spark a three-run Cleveland rally. The O’s, though, eventually won in the 13th inning on a Gary Matthews Jr. walkoff single. And in the 2014 opener, Nelson Cruz homered in his first game as an Oriole to lead a 2-1 win over the Red Sox. It kicked off an eventual 40-homer season for perhaps the greatest one-season O’s hitter of all time, as well as an eventual AL East pennant for the Orioles that year.