Opening Day in Baltimore could not have gone too much better. A sellout crowd of 45,017 got to see the Orioles beat the New York Yankees in comeback fashion. They let a 4-0 lead getaway, but overcame a 5-4 deficit to win 7-6 and improve to 4-3.
For already the third time this year, they have moved one game over .500.
The Orioles, after winning 83 games last season, have not backed down from their own high preseason expectations. They expect to contend this year for their first postseason berth since the 2016 season.
“We expect to win every game when we show up to the field. It doesn’t matter who we are playing on the other side. You know we played everybody tough last year. We have the Yankees today and we expect to win this game and win this series, “ Austin Hays said matter of factly before the home opener.
A theme in the O’s clubhouse before the game was players talking about the buzz around Baltimore amongst the O’s fanbase. Fans are more excited about this team than in years. Hays said he expected to see the big crowd bring the energy as the fans did and that such support can be big for this team this year.
“It is just like any sport, there is momentum that comes in waves. That is why they call it the home field or home court advantage. If something starts to go awry and you have the fan support behind you, it makes it difficult for the other team to keep that momentum with the energy coming from the stands.”
Both Hays and manager Brandon Hyde said they could see the excitement on the streets of Baltimore when walking around Baltimore Friday morning and/or driving to the game.
"To see the streets of Baltimore be covered in Orioles jerseys is really nice. We definitely feel the support and we’re excited,” said Hays.
Added Hyde: “Just walking around a little bit, there are a lot more people that come up to you in a positive way about your club. That’s really nice, honestly. You want your fanbase to feel good about your team and you want people to want to watch your club. This is uplifting for the city too. People are following us and like our players and that’s really important.
The Orioles offense is humming so far this year, producing 41 runs in seven games. They have scored five or more five times and scored seven runs or more four times. The Yankees had allowed 14 runs all year in their first six games before giving up seven on Friday. New York’s team ERA was 2.33 before the game.
As a team the O’s are now batting .259/.350/.469/.819 ranking second in the American League in slugging and OPS and third in OBP and in doubles (17) and homers (11). Baltimore got RBIs from six different players in the win.
A few other notes on the Opening Day win:
* The Yankees Aaron Judge went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts through seven innings against O’s pitching. He reached in the ninth when he drew a walk and advanced to third base but was stranded there when the game ended. By drawing that walk, Judge extended his current on-base streak to 40 games dating to Aug. 29, 2022. But in his last four games versus the Orioles, dating to late last year, Judge is now 1-for-11 with eight strikeouts and six walks.
* O’s starting pitchers have a 6.75 ERA through seven games, allowing four runs or more four times. They have thrown five innings or less in six of seven games thus far.
* Jorge Mateo went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. That was his third multi-hit game. Last season he did not produce his third multi-hit game until the 25th game of the year.
* The Orioles are now 3-0 in series-opening games and 4-1 when they score first.
* The O’s are 3-1 in games decided by one or two runs.
* The Yankees allowed seven runs total in both their first and second three-game series versus the Giants and Phillies. Then they allowed seven in one game on Friday. And their seven runs allowed match a season high.
O's farm off to sizzling start: The Orioles No. 1 ranked farm system is now a combined 10-1 with Triple-A Norfolk 5-1, Double-A Bowie and Low Single-A Delmarva 2-0 and High-A Aberdeen 1-0.
The Shorebirds scored eight runs in the 10th last night at Salem to win 15-8. Jackson Holliday's two-run single broke a 7-7 tie and Samuel Basallo followed with a two-run homer, his second in two nights for an 11-7 lead. Creed Willems had an RBI double, Elio Prado an RBI single and Adam Crampton a two-run double.
Holliday went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and Basallo knocked in three. Delmarva has scored 26 runs in two games with a team OPS of 1.042.
While Norfolk was rained out last night, Bowie beat Hartford 5-3 as César Prieto had three hits and three RBis and Aberdeen beat Wilmington 4-2. O's catcher James McCann went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles on his rehab assignment.
There was more good news for the farm Friday. Baseball America in this article (subscription may be required) rated the O's Norfolk affiliate as having the most talent of any team in all of minor league baseball.
BA said: "If you looked at the Tides' roster on Triple-A Opening Day last week, where (Grayson) Rodriguez was on the mound, the six Top 100 players on one roster would rival the best Opening Day roster we've seen since Baseball America began compiling a Top 100 Prospects list in 1990. Only five organizations had six players on the Top 100 this year, Norfolk had six on one minor league team.