With the Orioles first home game of the season just hours away, all the questions being asked off season will finally reveal themselves. At 7:10 PM tonight, the O’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays, who won the AL East division last season. Although one game will not be decisive of the entire season for Baltimore, this game will definitely answer some fans’ questions.
With several offensive and veteran additions over the off season and the return of manager Buck Showalter, the question on everyone’s mind in Baltimore is: Is this finally it? Will the Orioles finally have, should I dare say it, a winning season? Will they finally show the AL East and every other team some sort of trouble? Thinking back to last year’s season (until Showalter arrived), it seemed as though the Orioles were an automatic win in every team’s mind. Like they looked at their schedule, saw the O’s, and thought “Let’s not worry about that one, it’s a win.” Maybe this is exaggerated, but, come on, the O’s were the worst of the worst.
However, it’s a new season and close to a new team and the Orioles need to prove themselves. As long as everyone can stay healthy and their pitching holds up to the standards of the end of last season, and even improves, the O’s have a shot. A shot at what? Not a division title. Not yet. Not with how good the Red Sox are going to be (as much as that pains me to admit). But, a shot at not being in last place in the division. A shot at competing and staying in the game against every team they face. Yes, this talk has been going on ever since we acquired Reynolds, Lee, Hardy, and Guerrero. The Orioles were even on the front page of ESPN’s website about a month ago (when was the last time that ever happened?)! All of this is well and good, but it’s hard to not have that feeling of too much offseason talk, of too much possible success. Being a sports fanatic, I am superstitious and it’s hard to not think in the back of my mind that all of this chatter will jinx the Orioles. I guess that’s a feeling that I will have either confirmed or taken away as this weekend and the Orioles’ season opener unfolds.
Last thoughts: let’s take a look at the O’s starting line-up for tonight’s game.
With Guthrie taking the start at the mound.
To me, that looks pretty damn good. At least, on paper it does. What are your thoughts on the line-up? Anything you would change if you were the manager?