Baltimore Orioles: Three big wins with three bigger surprises

The Baltimore Orioles have put some exciting aspects of their game on notice early this season

With Opening Weekend behind us, the Baltimore Orioles might be legitimate. The sweep was shocking enough, but some other surprises have emerged.

It’s safe to say that when spring training gets going, conclusions pop up left and right. For the Baltimore Orioles fanbase, that was no different. However, if you would have suggested that the O’s would’ve swept the Red Sox in dominating fashion, you might have been asked to leave the chat.

Each game had a different storyline going into it than it did going out of it. As per the norm at this time of year, most of the pregame storylines were based around the “if they” and “can they” scenarios. After the three-game shellacking in Beantown, those questions have been answered, as well as a few emerging surprises making this season a bit more interesting.

Brandon Hyde created a new everyday second baseman

Leading up to Opening Day, the big news around Rio Ruiz was whether or not he would be an everyday starter at third base. It would’ve been a surprise enough to

say that Hyde played him at second, but the fact that he looked like a natural that changes everything. From looking calm on double plays to flashing the glove on multiple occasions, he is a fit.

Matchup
Baltimore Orioles
3-0
New York Yankees
1-2
Monday, April 5th

There is the issue of him going 2 for 12 with 5 strikeouts, but if he can keep up the fielding attribute, the rest can be overlooked for the time being. Second basemen don’t typically have the batting ability or desire as, say, your typical baseman (unless your name is Roberto Alomar), so there is a grace period there.

Baltimore Orioles: Three big wins with three bigger surprises

Mullins’ leaves no doubt now

The best thing that Cedric Mullins could have ever done was switching from hitting on both sides to focusing on just one. You can almost hear the “he’s on fire” voiceover from NBA Jam every time he has come to the plate so far. This weekend he went 9-for-13 with three doubles, including a 5-5 outing yesterday.

It took all of one day for the announcers stop talking about his past story of being sent down to Double-A,  due to hitting issues, to his mantra changing completely. His defense and speed already earned him a starting role day in and day out, but this explosion of offense not only is a nice surprise, but an even further safety blanket on his job.

A weekend to remember for the bullpen

The Skipper will have a tough job this year managing the bullpen that is riddled with Rule 5 picks and unproven veterans. Not to mention the fire sale of big named relievers last year, but if they can even keep a glimpse of this weekend, then Brandon Hyde’s job will become easier.

So, the surprise; the O’s bullpen might actually be quite good. Although it’s only one weekend, they look miles ahead of where they were expected to be. The bullpen threw 9.1 scoreless innings over the weekend. Adam Plutko came to play and certainly helped secure Saturday’s win, while Cesar Valdez and his nasty deception notched 2 saves.

This weekend came with surprises, but more importantly, it came with a renewed energy not only within the organization, but with the fans. We all know baseball is a long arduous process, but a start like this can do amazing things to a teams psyche going forward. The next test is New York as the O’s still play the underdog, but with a new level of respect that is certainly earned.