Happy opening day. And shame on Hallmark if it doesn’t make a card for this occasion.
The Orioles have won 11 of their last 13 openers and are 3-0 under manager Buck Showalter.
The last time they played in March, they lost 6-2 to the Rays in 2008. Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Albers and Brian Burres pitched for the Orioles. Luis Hernandez, the team’s last rookie to get the nod in an opener, started at shortstop and was replaced by Brandon Fahey after Jay Payton pinch-hit for him.
“It’s time to play some baseball,” said Adam Jones, surrounded at his locker yesterday before a workout that was moved indoors because of the rain, sleet, snow, wind and rumors of locusts.
“We’re some people that’s going to go out there and play baseball. All the other stuff, it doesn’t really matter what I say. It’s what we do.
“These are major league players. When the lights turn on, you can’t be scared now. The third tier is in there and we’re at Camden Yards, opening up.”
What about opening against the defending World Series champions?
“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Jones said. “Might as well.”
Opening day never seems to get old, no matter the age of the players.
“It’s the start of something special,” Jones said. “No one knows what’s going to happen, but on opening day everyone has a chance.”
Jones, by the way, is a career .302/.393/.358 hitter against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. Chris Davis is 3-for-24 with two doubles and a home run.
Delmon Young figures to be the designated hitter today, though he’s only 7-for-34 against Lester. Steve Pearce is 1-for-8.
Nelson Cruz is supposed to start in left field, but he could shift to right if Nick Markakis is unavailable with a stiff neck. Showalter could put plus-defender David Lough in left and insert him atop the order.
Or does Showalter put Young in left and DH Pearce? It’s nice to have choices.
Cruz is 10-for-22 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs against Lester.
We know that Matt Wieters will be behind the plate. The Orioles are the only team in the American League East that didn’t bring in a new starting catcher in 2014.
Lester is 15-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 25 career starts against the Orioles, but he went 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts last season and 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts in 2012.
Showalter isn’t paying attention to recent trends.
“Good pitcher,” he said. “Anybody would like to have him.”
Shameless plug alert: I’ll be doing a hit from the ballpark for ESPN Radio at 2:30 p.m..