Baltimore Orioles open with Chris Tillman on the mound

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles give Chris Tillman the ball on Opening Day at Camden Yards.

This afternoon the sparks fly for real when Chris Tillman takes to the mound for the Baltimore Orioles. They’ll take on Minnesota on Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. For what it’s worth, there’s a 60-70% chance of rain in Baltimore from 3 PM (first pitch time) onward this afternoon. But that’s why they build in tomorrow as an off day.

Opening Day in Baltimore is always a special day – regardless of the outlook for the home team that year. Pickles and Sliders are always packed from the morning onward across from the ballpark, and it’s one of the most festive atmospheres in sports. Just priort to 3 PM this afternoon, former Oriole and MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey will be joined by Maryland State Senator Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore Co.) to throw out the first pitch. Dempsey is celebrating his 50th year in professional baseball in some capacity this year.

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Nobody does Opening Day like the O’s, but once the pomp and circumstance is done, and once the smoke has faded, it’ll be time to get down to business. While the Birds won on Opening Day last year in Tampa, they were picked apart and left for dead in their home opener a few days later against Toronto. Was that foreshadowing in terms of how the season would turn out for both teams?

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Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman attempting comeback
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Tillman attempting comeback /

Call to the Pen

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  • Toronto certainly thought it was, needless to say. But the point is that while today’s game is only 1 of 162, it’s important to get off to a good start. The season’s not over if the Birds fall this afternoon, and it’s not “on” if they win – but it’s just important to get off to a good start. And that begins and ends today with Chris Tillman.

    On one hand, you want to see Tillman go deep into the game. While starting pitchers tend to look to go seven innings, during the first few starts of the season unofficially they’ll take six. However the Orioles are looking for Tillman to be crisp right off the bat today, and to give them a quality start. However if Tillman makes an early exit, all’s not lost. With the off day tomorrow, it’s all hands on deck in the ‘pen this afternoon.

    Keep in mind that this is also a Minnesota team that gave the Orioles fits last year. The Birds dropped all seven games that these two teams played in 2015, and Minnesota also had their way with the O’s a few times this year in spring training. While both of those series’ in 2015 were during Oriole slumps at the plate, the point is that this is a tough assignment for this team this afternoon.

    More from Orioles News

    Coming out of camp of course the big story was the Hyun-Soo Kim situation, and yesterday we officially found out that Kim made the team. The Orioles officially re-assigned Xavier Avery to triple-A Norfolk, Kim was asked yesterday if he thought he had personally done enough to make the team (quote courtesy of Jon Meoli, Baltimore Sun):

    "I haven’t thought about that."

    That comes across as the words of a guy who pretty much knows he’s only on the team because he had to be. I’m on record as saying that I thought the O’s should have eaten the $7 million and just cut their losses. Granted it’s not my money and not my decision; however why compound a mistake? That said, Kim may well turn out to prove me wrong – and for his sake I hope he does.

    The Orioles cannot allow this to drag them down. Kim’s teammates aren’t deaf to the situation; they know that he’s in effect on the roster because the team didn’t want to lose the $7 million. They also know that he’s taking Avery’s roster spot. But they can’t allow what they may or may not thing of this situation to cloud their view of their teammate. Kim’s on the roster, and they need to accept and embrace him as one of their own.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles 2016 season preview

    Given the degree of professionalism that exists in this group, I have no doubt they’ll do that. And believe me when I say that we’ll see Avery at some point this year – maybe sooner rather than later. But for now…(weather permitting) let’s PLAY BALL!!!