O's across the board in Opening Day win: Lopez throws six scoreless innings; Sosa goes 2-for-4 (www.theorioles.com)
Baseball is back in Baltimore folks, and the Orioles have burst back onto the scene!
Ok it's just one game, I know that but humor me these few paragraphs.
Much has been made about the top to bottom strenght of the Orioles starting lineup. Some have touted this years lineup as one of the best in recent memory. Others have focused on the addition of Sosa and say that he is in decline and won't help the team except maybe to drive ticket sales. Still others have overlooked the lineup completely and just based the young guns in the rotation. Well folks, It seems like the nay sayers have been hushed if only for this day.
The keys to the win over a "superior" team in the A's can be broken down into two categories. 1- Talent and 2- confidence.
Talent is the easiest to discuss so I will start there. I believe this IS THE BEST lineup in the last 20 years. Not just on paper mind you but in raw skill.
Up at the top you have guys that can hit for average, power and legs to turn singles into doubles. Mora has got to be the best number 2 guy in the league. Can you image what a pitcher thinks when they see Mora come to the plate? Here is a guy that can slap the ball anywhere on the field with a surgeons precision, or spank the hell out of it and touch em all.
3-5??? That's just insane! Who would a pitcher rather face? That is a question even Schilling would have to plead the fifth on.
7-9??? A healthy Gibbon, and Matos and Bigbie who is really starting to come into his own as a ball player, have the making for the most productive bottom of the order.
As far as confidence goes, it took balls for Lopez to take the pressure of opening day, mix it with a formidable lineup and Cy Young winner, and turn that into 6 shutout innings and a W. Lopez was not the sharpest I have seen him but he handled the situations well, not giving into emotions or B&M about an interesting strike zone. He took all that pressure and showed the crowd what it is to be an opening day O's starter.
Another vote of confidence goes to Luis Matos who was the catalyst of this line up today. More proof that productivity does not have to come from the 3, 4 or 5 hitters in this lineup. I have commented before (http://www.baseballgeeks.com/cgi-bin/bbs/thread.pl?
) on my enthusiasm about Luis this year. Spring training was just a warmup for this kid. Now just stay healthy Luis (knock on wood, comeon yall join in) and show us fans what we have been waiting for!
In the end, this is just 1 of 162 long games down. If only for a day, they are tied for first place. Time will tell if the team truly has the guts to pull out an upset in the standings come September. I wish you all good health and good luck this season.
How 'bout Dem Ohhhs Hun???