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O’s Hot Start Is Both Awesome and Nothing (Yet)

As starts to the season go there’s literally nothing better than 3-0 on the strength of clean play and strong pitching. It’s ideal, the very definition of a best-case scenario. It’s exciting.

That said, this team also started last year 3-0. On the road, to boot. In fact they started 4-0. By the 12th game they were 6-6 and would never find themselves in the black again.

I bring this up not to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm or joy. I simply bring it up for perspective. I’m going to hammer the No Expectations, Just Baseball mantra all year because that’s the responsible thing to do. We’re going to reach a point where we need to smooth over some bad times and we can only, truly do that if we understand that to some extent we must also temper our reactions to the good times.

In other words, enjoy times like this but enjoy them for the right reasons. Resist the temptation to cheat yourself out of what is in favor of what might be. Because, after all, only one of those things is guaranteed.

Now, bring on the Yankees.

20 comments to O’s Hot Start Is Both Awesome and Nothing (Yet)

  • Miles

    As I said in the previous thread, you couldn’t have scripted a better way to start the season.

    (Okay, if Hammel had actually finished the no-no, that would have been better)

    Speaking of Hammel, I hope he stays on that track all summer. He seemed like a terrible acquisition to me a few months ago – he looked like a different pitcher yesterday and certainly made Mr. Duquette look smart.

    Let’s see what Matusz can do against the Yanks tonight…

  • Eileen

    It’s awesome, and it’s not exactly “nothing.” It’s three games that a lot of people were able to watch and enjoy, instead of grimly sitting through. That’s something. Now if they can just win the game against Sabathia on Wednesday when I’ll be there with my Yankee fan husband, that’ll make the season for me.

  • sci

    Hammel looked legitimately good yesterday. The lack of hits was not a fluke. Whether that carries over, we shall see, but he was downright nasty yesterday.

    My new thought on the year: What if two out of the following group are good? Hammel, Hunter, Wada, Chen. Then what if two out of the following group are good? Matusz, Tillman, Britton, Arrieta. If four of those eight guys are legitimately good this year, things could get interesting. As always, we shall see, but I like this year a lot so far. I think Buck is probably posting all those preseason predictions for 100 losses. Maybe, just maybe, these guys are tired of being a laughingstock.

    Now, 2 out of 3 from the Yanks…

  • dan the man

    It’s the lefties in this rotation that have the most question marks. We should find out a lot about Matusz and Chen in this series.

    But all I really want to see out of Matusz is a respectable start more reminiscent of 2010 than 2011. I’ll take 6 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB. Just don’t want to see him totally implode.

    Offensively, I’m liking how the lineup can be tinkered with this year. Not having Vlad there anchoring everything down is pretty huge, in my opinion, if we’re not going to have a David Ortiz-esque DH.

  • Miles

    Tough outing for Matusz. Missed a lot up and away.

    He’s going to be under the microscope every start this season, but let’s not forget it’s only one, and against the team that he’s struggled most against.

    Wieters’ bat is encouraging.

  • dan the man

    Some of the worst umpiring I’ve ever seen. Nick Markakis walked twice in one at bat before striking out. Palmer laid into the ump, calling it “embarrassing” and saying that there’s “no accountability.” He’s absolutely right.

    But regardless, Matusz was bad. He’s doing this thing where he’s flailing his arm after high fastballs, and I’m not sure what that’s about, or if it even has any effect on the pitch one way or the other.

    Either way, he looked nervous and appeared to be over-throwing. Not very encouraging, but we’ll see.

    Good news is that the O’s got like 13 hits and just didn’t make any of them count, really. So there’s a little bit of bad luck in this one.

  • sci

    Matusz has 2 or 3 more starts I think to show some significant improvement. He’s really going to be pushed by Wada, so he’s got to step it up. He was just laboring the whole time like he did last year. Disappointing, but we shall see…

  • dan the man

    @ sci: I’m willing to take Wieters at his word that he had much better stuff than last year, and that it was just control problems. Like you said, 2 or 3 more is really all he’s got left.

  • Luke

    I actually watched half of the game (thanks DirectTV for giving me the MBL package free for 2 weeks because I live in Florida) and was excited to see the Orioles take on the Yankees after going 3-0 while the Yanks are destined for the 0-162 record (insert Borat “not!” joke here…). And with the excitement of 3-0, and a new season, and the feeling of “maybe this year the Orioles can make the playoffs”, I find myself, here, on Neal’s website, the very one that he promoted in ’06 saying, “If you click the Google ads on the side columns, I’ll get a check at the end of the month!” So I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of buying into the hoopla that has surrounded a measly 3-0 start. But after years of disappointment, an undefeated start is something worth mentioning and being proud to say. I watched the game with anticipation, thinking “going 4-0 and taking it to the Yankees would be a great confidence booster.” Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way. But I firmly believe Matusz is a solid thrower who was nervous because its his first start of the season, the team is undefeated and its the Yankees. He has room to improve but I have confidence he will, as will the rest of the team throughout the season.
    I’m not stating I am a baseball aficionado or claim to be (in fact, I think baseball is still gay but I’m comfortable enough with my sexuality to watch it) but I am here to drink some of the Orange Kool-Aid and share some thoughts from God’s Waiting Room aka Florida, or at least provide some humor in my first ever post on this site. Props for at least remembering the website, Neal??

  • Miles

    Chen deserved better tonight – after Jeter tagged him in the first at-bat, he looked pretty darn sharp.

    Bad Mark Reynolds makes the play at 3rd base, and he leaves the game with a 4-2 lead.

  • Miles

    Pedro Strop is NASTY.

  • Miles

    Miles wrote:

    Pedro Strop is NASTY.

    Please note that comment was entered after Strop’s 11th inning.

    We need a new stat – unearned runs allowed after Mark Reynolds errors – I count 3 tonight. Really, really rough night for him.

  • Mike R

    Reynolds can play first. Davis and betimit can platoon at 3rd. Reynolds can dh. Reimold can play first when chavez plays LF. There are enough interchangeable pieces, and we saw Reynolds struggle last year and all spring at 3rd. Why is this still an issue?

    You can’t fuck around with the yankees like they did last night. Let’s hope we take one tonight. Also, they reverted back to nibbling around the plate instead of pounding the zone, and pitchers are hitting 100 pitches by the 6th. Not good. Get ahead in the count against these guys. Especially since they take every first pitch.

  • sci

    The good news: After one run through the rotation, everyone looked legit except Matusz.

    The bad news: Mark the Butcher, lineup once again struggling with RISP, pitchers again doing lots of nibbling at the strike zone

    Agree with Mike R., Reynolds cannot be our everyday 3B-man. He costs us games there, again and again.

  • dan the man

    Nothing more frustrating than blowing a game to the Yankees at home. I feel like that happened so much last year.

    If we want to be the Rays, we aren’t going to do it with shitty defense.

    Chen looks like he’ll be fine. 6 K’s against the Yanks is solid. If we can steal one against CC, everything will be gravy as far as I’m concerned. But sadly, it’s almost too typical of the O’s to trade sweeps to cancel out any good vibes, especially against the Yanks, is it not?

    We’ll see.

  • dan the man

    The RISP should level out. For now, I’m glad we’re getting that many opportunities with RISP in the first place. That means guys are on base.

    I think Reimold needs to bat in between Reynolds and Davis, and Andino needs to leadoff. Well, Nick needs to leadoff, but that ain’t happening.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    Same old script against Yanks. They make the plays and we do not. Close last night. Tonight blow out 9-2 Yanks and today is last day this year we look down at them in standings. Hope it is not so but looks like it to me.

  • PW

    I’m thinking another heartbreaker in late innings for the O’s. Arrieta will be solid and the O’s will get a few runs off of CC, leaving them tied or with a small lead. Arrieta will be pulled going into the 8th and our bullpen, which has been worked a lot the past 2 nights, will give up some runs. I’m going to say 6-3 Yanks

  • Miles

    When I was a kid, I used to love to watch the 1988 World Series video – Dodgers over the A’s, Kirk Gibson’s iconic walk-off home run, et cetera…

    I distinctly remember the segments on Orel Hershiser, who had his record-breaking 57+ scoreless inning streak. They had footage of his dad watching in the stands, who would exclaim (and bestow upon him the nickname) “Bulldog! He’s a bulldog!”

    Jake Arrieta elicits the same response from me. He’s a bulldog.

  • Mike R

    “The ball slipped out of my hand, it ended up in the middle of the plate and he didnt miss it.”. -Kevin Gregg on the Swisher homer

    I guess the ball slipped our of his hands 40 or 50 times last year. Fuckin DFA Gregg’s ass already.