Opening Day: Orioles 4, Rays 1

The Good:

  • Jeremy Guthrie was absolutely dealing, using all of his pitches effectively. The breaking-pitches had good bite, and his change-up was moving – he generated a 47% whiff rate on his off-speed stuff. Final line; 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
  • Before the game I put out a bold prediction for Opening Day; that JJ Hardy would take David Price deep. And he came so close in his first at bat, driving a pitch the opposite off the top of the wall for a double. Then he drew a walk. One game into the season, but we already have a Nick Markakis Day, even if Nick wasn’t the one to get it. He also made a nice spinning play on a grounder hit up the middle. Shortstop with some power and patience who can also field? That’s why I was so excited the team got him.
  • Brian Roberts had a two-run triple, and Nick added a hit and a couple RBI as well.

The Bad:

  • Luke Scott did not look too good versus the lefty (0-4, 2 K), though he did make a nice running catch in the left-center field gap.
  • Adam Jones also did his usual shtick at the plate (0-4, 2K).

The Final:

Nice way to start off the season… in the WIN column! Guthrie may not pitch this will again all year, but even a small step down will be good enough to keep the team in games more often than not. Jim Johnson came on for the ninth* and gave up a solo home run to the first batter, but then settled down with two K’s and a groundout to close it out. See? Three run lead in the ninth inning and JJ locks it down. Who says he can’t close? Brian Matusz is a scratch tomorrow with a back injury, so Chris Tillman will take his spot and try to keep the team rolling after a very good game one.

* Bringing in JJ to face the top of the Rays line-up who had already seen Guthrie three times was the correct call. Especially since Jeremy’s control started to waver ever so slightly in the 8th.