Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 1: 3-0 over the Boston Red Sox
2020 Topps John Means
The first win is out of the way, that means there will be no 0-21 start! It's the little things in life that matter when you root for a team that realistically has no shot at making the playoffs. So, it's always nice to start the season with a win. That goes doubly so when the win comes at the expense of the Boston Red Sox.
As for the game itself, John Means looked like the ace of the staff. Rookie Ryan Mountcastle had the big hit. The bullpen locked it down and Rio Ruiz is apparently the second coming of Roberto Alomar at second base. It was also nice to see the other team make a crucial fielding error that led to extra outs and runs for the Orioles.
Means was dealing in his first career opening day start and really seemed to have figured out the fine line between throwing heat and mixing in his most effective pitch, his change-up. Last season when he returned from injury throwing 94-95, he seemed to get away from using his change-up to get hitters out and tried to over power them which led to some not so pretty results. Against the Red Sox he backed it down a bit and took a little more off the offspeed, which kept the hitters way off balance.
As for Mountcastle, it looked like he was going to greet his first opening day with a grand slam but the Green Monster (and perhaps the slightly deadened 2021 baseballs) turned it into a double. Still, it was an excellent at-bat for the rookie as he turned on a pitch well inside and muscled it onto the wall. He probably won't sustain the crazy .398 BABIP he put up in his truncated season last year, but it looks like he's still driving the ball when he makes contact.
I don't have many expectations for the O's this season. Try not to lose 100 games, get some quality looks at young pitchers like Dean Kramer and Keegan Aikin. Hopefully Austin Hayes is healthy for the entire season and Cedric Mullins rakes as a pure left-handed hitter. The payoff for the rebuild is still two years away at least (although they could be a frisky young team next season).
The best part is that baseball is back and on schedule to play a full 162 games. Settle in for a long, hopefully enjoyable, season.