The grass has been cut, the limestone has been set perfectly down the lines, and the plate has been cleaned. Tomorrow afternoon the fans will pack the seats to kick off the start of Major League Baseball’s 2013-2014 season.
Nothing beats Opening Day.
The stadiums will be filled to capacity with optimism. The start of a long 162 game season begins the same for every team. Their journeys will vary significantly, but every ball team starts at 0-0. Some teams are trying to turn their luck around, while others are trying to get back to the postseason. This year in Baltimore, the Orioles will try to defy the odds once again.
As you all are all aware, Baltimore is coming off an unbelievable season. A season well documented with many record breaking statistics:
- 29-9 in one-run ballgames.
- 16-2 in extra-innings
- 3.00 ERA (Ranked 5th in MLB in 2012)
- Best since 1997
- 178 roster moves
All of those were story lines for the Orioles last year, but the best statistic that we can carry into this season is:
- 38-20 record since August 1, 2012. The best record in baseball since that time.
The Orioles finished strong. They were a team that got better throughout the course of the season. Several pitchers adapted from starters to relief roles. We saw a plethora of options used out in LF, as well as defensive positions guarding the lines. The decision to call Manny Machado up in July, and to put him over on the hot corner became an overwhelmingly positive move.
We had a few roster changes in the off-season, but the core of the Orioles still remain. The players have seen what it takes to win, and with Buck still running the show, I see it continuing throughout this year.
In order for the O’s to continue their success in the AL East in 2013, I believe they will have to continue having strong bullpen support, and continue to have success hitting the long ball. Home runs were a major factor in driving in runs, and will need to be counted on once again the way our lineup is structured. The Orioles were 2nd in all of baseball with 214, behind only the Yankees (245). The league average was 179. The ability to manufacture runs will also need to improve. The Orioles only had 58 stolen bases on the year. The league average was 107.
All of these stats are interesting to analyze, but give us no knowledge on how this upcoming season will transpire. That is what makes Opening Day so great. A fresh slate for everyone.
The Orioles look to start out on the right foot against reigning AL CY young winner David Price. Jason Hammel gets the start for the Orioles. Hammel is coming back from a knee injury he suffered back in early July, with all reports showing he has made a full recovery and is 100%.
There may be several questions about this team, quite possibly more than last season, but like every other team in the big leagues, time will tell what is in store for them this season.
One thing we do know, BIRDLAND Is Back.
In Buck We Trust! Let’s go O’s!