• Apr

    Some opening day thoughts

    There was an energy in and around the yard that I can't remember feeling on opening day. Sure, there's always enthusiasm, but this year it was different. From the fans, to the press, to the players and coaches, there is just a vibe going around of confidence.

    Not arrogance, but confidence. You can feel it when the team gets behind. I mean seriously, how many of you felt like the Orioles were out of it when they fell behind 4-1? In year's past, I might have quiet thought, "This could get ugly." Not this year.

    When the Orioles got behind, I was sitting next to my good buddy and WNEW's top field reporter, John Domen . I looked over at him and said, "The Orioles will come back. Either Chris Davis or Matt Wieters is going to hit  walk-off." I was close. Davis didn't hit a walk-off, but he certainly hit the bomb that put the Orioles ahead.

    Speaking of Davis, it's hard not to really enjoy this for him. He had a lot of doubters coming into last year, including yours truly, and even after his 33 home run seasons, some of them, including me, worried about whether he could keep this up. Well, he made a believer out of me.

    It's not just the numbers, which are setting records and just plain other-worldly, it's the way he's do it. He's hitting to all fields while hitting all kinds of pitches. Honestly, for a guy who had a hole in his swing at times, he has some of the best plate coverage that I've seen from a major league player. This isn't a country strong guy hitting mistakes, this is a guy hitting anything and everything that's getting throw at him.  I've never witness a streak like this, but according to Davis, this isn't the first time he's hit four homers in four games.

    "I did it in Triple-A," Davis told the Hangout.

    Jake Arrieta said, "I've never seen anything like it," when asked about his teammate's start. Well Jake, neither have I and I've been watching this game for a day or two.

    Speaking of Arrieta, I know it's easy to look at his 9.00 ERA over his five innings of work and say, "Same old Jake," but Arrieta's numbers look a lot worse due to the triple Brian Dozier hit off him into right-center. The reason I'm bringing that up is because that ball should have been caught by Nick Markakis. Markakis, who appears to have the foot speed of a disabled elephant, did not get a good jump and appeared to have lost it for a split second. By the time he saw it again, he was unable to catch up to the ball and it fell in for a two-run triple. To be fair, the ball was hit hard and Arrieta followed that up by hanging a 2-2 curveball that Eduardo Escobar singled into center field to plate Dozier, but with a better read and route, Markakis could have ended that inning before the Twins did most of their damage.

    Let's hear for the bullpen today. Although Troy Patton allowed an inherited runner to score that put the Twins ahead 5-4, the bullpen put together four shutout innings of work to allow the Orioles to comeback. Luis Ayala (1-0) got the win despite giving up a one-out double to Josh Willingham in the 7th on an 0-2 down and in cutter. It took Pedro Strop 16 pitches, but he got through the 9th without allowing a base runner.

    All in all, it was a great day to be at the yard. There's something special about this team, I can feel it.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.