Ok, so the Orioles and Nationals are not going undefeated, but if you want to be 162-0 you have to win game 1 right? But seriously, the two playoff hopeful teams took care of business in their home openers and it was an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” formula that got their seasons going.
Orioles vs. Blue Jays
The Orioles and Blue Jays needed extra innings once again to decide a victor. Unlike the AL Wildcard Game this past October, the Orioles were able to come away with the deciding home run off of the bat of newly re-signed Mark Trumbo.
The Orioles had a new starter on opening day for the first time in three years in Kevin Gausman ( 9-12/ 3.38). Expectations are high for Gausman this season as he looks to take his role with the Orioles to the next level. He gave up two runs in 5 1/3 with 4 K’s and 5 hits. Of his 103 pitches, only 57 were strikes. This is pretty much what we come to expect from O’s starters, but fans are holding out hope for more production this season. When asked if Gausman’s endurance had anything to do with his four walks and early exit, manager Buck Showalter said “It’s a high-intensity outing, it wears on you. You don’t wanna give in… sometimes the best pitch you throw is ball four.” No one can spin a story better than Buck, am I right?
But the O’s kept their winning formula intact; keep the ball game close and let the bullpen carry you home. Givens, Brach, Britton and Wilson took over for Gausman, giving up 6 hits but no runs. A big reason for that was a stellar infield defense led by All-Star third basemen Manny Machado. In the top of the 11th inning, Machado took a hard rolling ground ball down the line and threw
out Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis from HIS KNEE (singular on purpose), and BEHIND third base. Spectacular defensive plays, coupled with decent starting pitching and a bend-don’t-break bullpen, have been the Orioles keys for success for the past four years and Showalter isn’t changing the recipe.
The O’s hopes for a perfect season will rest on the shoulders of their other young pitching hopeful Dylan Bundy, tonight at 7:05.
Nat’s vs. Marlins
The Nat’s and Marlins opened up their season in less dramatic fashion, but none-the-less the defending NL East division champs took care of business as they beat the Marlins 4-2.
Nat’s fans also got a bit of the “what else is new” treatment, as Stephen Strasburg (15-4/3.60) pitched 7 solid innings with 3 strikeouts, giving up 2 runs and 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper hit his fifth, yes I said his fifth,
opening day home run. Just how impressive of a feat is that? How about this, Bryce Harper has more opening day HR by the age of 24 than ANYBODY in baseball…ever
Needless to say, the Nationals are back and ready to give their fans another exciting season with extremely high expectations. Their starting rotation is stacked from top to bottom and their lineup is as good as anyone in the National League, probably in all of the MLB. Harper has been very vocal in previous seasons, but this spring was very quiet. His expectations for the team are as high as anyone’s and he is showing it with this play and not his words.
The Nat’s will continue their streak to perfection tonight @ 7:05 against the Marlins with Tanner Roark taking the mound as Max Scherzer heals from a spring training injury.
Make sure you keep up with us every week as we bring you all of the O’s and Nat’s highlights this season, and happy new year Annapolis!