Corbin Burnes dominating for O’s slams door on critics and makes trade look genius

Corbin Burnes in spring training wasn't good. Corbin Burnes on Opening Day, on the other hand, was insanely good.

Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

So much of the Baltimore Orioles' offseason hinges on how well Corbin Burnes plays in 2024. For all of the moving pieces on the Orioles' roster, Baltimore desperately needed a starting pitcher this offseason and pushed their chips in on Burnes with the goal of advancing deeper in the postseason than they made it last year.

The only problem with that plan? As good as Burnes has been in his career, he is just one man, and if he faltered in 2024, the Orioles could be in quite a bit of trouble. So, when Burnes struggled in spring training with a 6.75 ERA in 16 innings of work, it was understandable that fans started to panic a little bit and folks came out of the woodwork to criticize the trade after the fact.

For the moment, Burnes quieted those doubts as he was simply spectacular against the Angels on Opening Day.

Corbin Burnes pitched exactly the way the Orioles hoped he would against Angels

Burnes' first official start went about as well as one could have hoped. Aside from a hiccup when Mike Trout cranked a solo home run off against him in the first inning, Burnes was untouchable on Thursday as he went six innings and gave up just that one hit while striking out 11 Angels. It is a long season, but Burnes' performance certainly helped put fans' minds at ease.

Burnes got a helping hand from the Orioles' offense, which looked like it was in midseason form, and made the Angels' pitchers look like minor leaguers. Anthony Santander had a homer and drove in four runs; Cedric Mullins also went yard; and every Baltimore regular in the lineup recorded at least one hit. When a guy with ace-level stuff gets that kind of run support, it isn't often that they squander it.

It's still worth keeping tabs on Burnes, especially early on, as his spring definitely raised some eyebrows, but it's clear that he still has the ability to dominate on any given night and that he's entering the 2024 season with something to prove.

Maybe that's to prove to the Brewers that they were wrong to move on from him or that he deserves the big contract he's most assuredly going to ask for next offseason. Whatever his motivations may be, Orioles fans may be fortunate enough to get to enjoy the ride if he keeps this up.

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