The Baltimore Orioles and manager Buck Showalter are ready to go. The bunting’s on the warehouse, the batting cages are ready to go, and the uniforms are hung in players’ lockers. It must be Opening Day in Baltimore!
As I write this now, fans are gathering at Pickles Pub & Sliders Bar & Grille across the street from the yard, “tailgating” for today’s game. I heard on the radio yesterday that the betting line has Orioles, -1. Yes, the O’s are giving a run at home on Opening Day against Minnesota. The over/under is also nine – odds makers are thinking that the wind will be blowing out today at Camden Yards!
But just a reminder, folks. Today is game 1 of 162. A win today doesn’t mean smooth sailing the rest of the way, even though the O’s have a tradition of sorts in terms of winning on Opening Day. And a loss certainly doesn’t doom the season to failure.
Part of Opening Day is the pageantry, which in reality is done for the fans. After today players won’t run down the orange carpet moving forward. And they’re fine with that, as they just want to play. And play they will – today and onward.
But Opening Day is special – especially in Baltimore. There’s not much I can offer in terms of a gameplan or in setting out what the Orioles need to do in order to win. Anyone who’s read this column knows that it begins and ends with starting pitching. But also keep in mind that this being the first game, starters might not go as deep into the games as they would in say June or July. So keep a close eye on middle relief this afternoon as well.
That said, the Birds today open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards (just a reminder, tomorrow is an off day, with the series resuming on Saturday night). Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.