Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day Preview

By Corey Righter
Adam Jones
Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

Time to dust off all that black and orange. Get ready for Baltimore Orioles Opening day 2013 as they get ready to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. 2012 is in the past, and I personally can’t wait to see what the follow up is going to entail.

Manager Buck Showalter and the front office did not make flashy big name moves like a lot of teams in the league. What moves would you make after winning 93 games?

The Orioles recently named Jason Hammel as their opening day starter. The team did not have starter win more than 12 games in 2012. On Tuesday, the Orioles will go up against a more prolific pitcher in David Price, who won 20 games in 2012.

Price has a career record of 6-2 in 12 starts vs. the Orioles. In those 12 starts, the lefty has a 2.21 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a minuscule .207 batting average. As for the current players on the Orioles active roster, Price is still pretty dominant. None of the current Orioles have a homer off Price, but the teams average at the plate is a bit higher at .242 through 186 total at-bats between 13 players.

Hammel is not quite as dominant against the Rays as Price is against the Orioles. In a smaller sample size, the right-hander has given up more home runs (five) and one less RBI (15)  than Price.

Perhaps the one advantage Hammel has going into this opening day game is that he has only faced the Rays once in his career. The last time he faced the Rays, he re-injured his knee in the fourth inning while pitching to Evan Longoria. Lets hope that Hammel doesn’t have the same misfortune this time.

There are a few things that stick out to me with the O’s opening day order. First off, Nick Markakis batting first is very peculiar. In his 1050 career games, the right fielder has just 56 stolen bases. Now, not every lead off man has to be lightning-fast, but that is usually the mold of a lead off hitter. Manny Machado batting second will be the one to look out for. The third baseman has never batted higher than sixth it the batting order.

The final tid-bit that stands out, is the absence of Nate McLouth from the starting lineup. He didn’t have a great Spring, but last season, the Orioles were 37-17 with speedy outfielder in the lineup in 2012. Reimold or Pearce are likely in his spot in the lineup, but I’m sure Showalter has his reasons.

The Orioles have the capability to win the series against the Rays, but it is going to tough getting the W against Price throwing lasers all day long. The Orioles season begins approximately at 3:00 p.m. ET Tuesday afternoon in Tampa Bay.

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