ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Now that we've slowed our heart rates following yesterday's opening day festivities at Tropicana Field, and the Orioles' 7-4 victory that followed, it's time to move onto the second game of the 2013 season.
Jason Hammel basically trashed himself yesterday after turning in a quality start by definition, allowing three runs over six innings. He retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced, serving up a single and home run to Ben Zobrist, but still gave himself a failing grade.
Now it's Wei-Yin Chen's turn, and he should be familiar with the Rays after facing them five times as a rookie.
Chen lost three of his four decisions, but he posted a 2.97 ERA and held them to a .231 average. In his final start against them, he allowed one earned run (four total) over 6 2/3 innings at The Trop. Three weeks earlier, he held the Rays to two runs over 7 1/3 innings at Camden Yards. Back in August, he shut them out on five hits over seven innings underneath the dome.
On July 24, he permitted three runs in 6 2/3 innings in Baltimore. On June 1, he surrendered five runs in 5 2/3 innings in St. Petersburg.
Five outings, four quality starts, one victory.
Zobrist could be a pain to the Orioles again tonight. He's 7-for-15 with a home run against Chen.
Sam Fuld is 3-for-8. Desmond Jennings is 0-for-12.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson is 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) against the Orioles, who are batting .204 against him.
Adam Jones, who had three hits and two RBIs yesterday, is 9-for-28 (321) with a double and three home runs against Hellickson. Chris Davis, who smacked a three-run homer yesterday, is 5-for-15. Nick Markakis has homered twice and driven in six runs in 25 at-bats.
J.J. Hardy is 6-for-27 (.222) with a double and home run. Matt Wieters is 4-for-18 (.222).
The Orioles have announced some of their plans for the home opener on Friday, with the exception of who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The name will be revealed that day.
I can only confirm that it won't be me.
Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:30 p.m., when pregame ceremonies will begin before Friday's home opener. MASN's Jim Hunter will serve as emcee.
Nationally acclaimed operatic tenor Rolando Sanz will perform the National Anthem and God Bless America. Sanz is a native of Rockville and he recently made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the role of Kostik in the world premiere of Prokofiev's lost opera "Dalëkie Morja" ("Distant Seas").
During the anthem, a 30-by-42-foot American flag from Fort McHenry will be unfurled over the batter's eye wall in center field. The flag is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem.
Jones, Hardy and Wieters will receive their Gold Gloves during an on-field ceremony.
The warning track will be new, as I wrote here, and you will notice a 15th flagpole on the flag court with the Houston Astros' move to the American League West. There are now three rows of five flagpoles, which feature the daily standings of each division.
The Orioles and their concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice, have made extensive additions to the food offerings at Camden Yards, highlighted by new menu options at both Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant and ballpark concession stands.
Triple Crown Sandwich: ESSKAY hot dog, the popular "bacon on a stick" and pulled pork all on a bun (Jack Daniel's Grill on Eutaw Street)
* TAKO-Korean BBQ: Korean beef steak and Korean chicken tacos (available as gluten-free), whole wheat edamame bao (vegetarian) and BBQ pork bao, and pad thai noodle salad (vegetarian and gluten-free) (TAKO stand on the 3rd base side of the main concourse)
* Crab Waffle Fries: waffle fries served with house made Old Bay crab dip (Chicken & Fries stand on the 3rd base side on the main concourse and Old Bay Seafood on the upper level concourse)
* The Walk Off: Old Bay Roma sausage in a pretzel roll topped with house made Old Bay crab dip (Dempsey's)
Also, the Orioles are offering several gluten-free concessions options in 2013.
* Dempsey's: The Dempsey Salad, Steak Salad, Catcher's Cobb, Baby Arugula Salad, Beer Can Chicken, Bacon on a Stick
* Boog's BBQ: Gluten-free roll by request
* Jack Daniels: Bacon on a Stick, Beer Can Chicken
* TAKO-Korean BBQ: Beef Steak and Chicken Takos (request corn tortilla), Pad Thai Noodle Salad
* Das Sausage Haus: Gluten-free roll by request, Old Bay Sausage, Italian Sausage, ESSKAY Hot Dog
* Season's Pizza: Gluten-free cheese pizza
* Eutaw Market: Go Picnic - Gluten-free meals
* All-star Café (Club Level): Gluten-free Boog's BBQ roll by request
Before anyone else asks me, the Orioles haven't announced contingency plans if the home opener is rained out. They obviously will do everything possible to play the game. Otherwise, they could have a doubleheader Saturday. But anyone fretting over that "100 percent chance of rain" forecast needs to remember that there's always a window, and there's usually a change as the day approaches.
In other words, I'll believe it when I see it.