It isn’t too early to assess the player performances in the Orioles first victory over the Rays last night, you know O’s Manager Buck Showalter is doing it. So here’s my player report card:
Jeremy Guthrie – He was simply brilliant. He threw first pitch strikes, changed speeds and hit his spots with pinpoint precision. He was working fast and clearly executing his plan for each hitter. He was my number one key for the O’s to win this series, and he stepped up and pitched like a true ace.
Brian Roberts – Delivered the big blow by sitting on a 3-2 hanging curve ball from David Price. Great piece of hitting. He even looked pissed once or twice when he didn’t get it done at the plate – emotion from Mr. Nonchalant? A very good sign.
Nick Markakis – Delivered RBIs in two tough Abs against Price. Showed why he will be the O’s top hitter this year and will finally get the recognition he deserves.
JJ Hardy – 1 for 2 with 2 runs scored and a few slick plays at short. We may have found our short stop.
Derrek Lee – 0 for 4 at the plate, but all good at bats. More importantly, he looked like a real number three hitter: confident and intimidating in the box. You could feel it, and you can start to see it rub off on the other guys already. Plus he’s still got the leather at first, as he made a great stab on a short hop to end the sixth. That was a run scoring double last year.
Vlad Guerrero – He can still rake. 1 for 4 with a rip up the middle off Price, you can tell opposing pitchers fear him. Number four hitter? Check.
Matt Wieters – Called a great game for Guthrie. His swing still looks long and slow (which could mean another .250 average season with few homeruns), but he was 1 for 3.
Adam Jones – Simply overmatched at the plate, looked bad.
Luke Scott – Also looked bad against Price, he at least has to have good at bats against lefties to avoid a platoon. Looked very, very shaky in left field.
Mark Reynolds – As advertised at the plate, 0 for 3 with only 1 strikeout.
Jim Johnson – He simply can’t serve up a home run on the first pitch he throws. Especially to blow a shut out for Guthrie after the way he threw for eight innings.