ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles will conduct their workout at Tropicana Field today at 3 p.m., and my first prediction for the 2013 season is that the temperature will be 72 degrees.
That’s the last time I’m going out on a limb.
The clubhouse will be open to reporters from 2-2:45 p.m. Then it’s back up to the press box while players trickle out of the dugout, take batting practice and go through fielding drills.
Manager Buck Showalter told reporters a few days ago that he would pass along his opening day lineup this afternoon. We’ll find out whether Nick Markakis is batting leadoff. We already know that Brian Roberts is hitting ninth.
Nate McLouth is another leadoff candidate on the team, but he may be on the bench against Tampa Bay left-hander David Price.
Four days ago, Showalter posted the following lineup against Price in Sarasota:
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Nolan Reimold LF
Steve Pearce DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Jesse Beal started that day. I didn’t read anything into it. However, Pearce made the team and again could serve as the designated hitter.
Machado batted sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth as a rookie last season. Showalter didn’t dismiss the suggestion last week that Machado could hit second on occasion this year.
It’s quite possible that Showalter posts the exact same lineup for the opener. It’s not like he’s sorting through a list of players who own Price.
Roberts is 3-for-10 with a triple and three RBIs. Small sample size. Markakis is 9-for-33 (.273) with a double, triple, two RBIs and eight strikeouts.
Reimold is 2-for-18 (.111) with two RBIs and five strikeouts. Jones is 5-for-29 (.172) with two doubles, two RBIs and seven strikeouts. Wieters is 7-for-27 (.259) with two doubles, one RBIs and 10 strikeouts.
Maybe the Orioles were a bit hasty in optioning Danny Valencia. He’s 7-for-10 against Price.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel spent his first three major league seasons with the Rays, but he’s 0-5 with a 5.87 ERA in 31 career games at The Trop. He’s faced them once previously, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings.
James Loney is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles, three homers and eight RBIs against Hammel. Kelly Johnson is 6-for-20 (.300) with a double, home run and eight strikeouts.
Yunel Escobar and Ryan Roberts are each 2-for-15 (.133).