Twelve Orioles Thoughts following Opening Day win over Angels

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With the Orioles blowing out the Angels in an 11-3 final to begin the 2024 season on a high note and improve their all-time Opening Day record to 46-25, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Considering the emotions of the Key Bridge tragedy and the optimism stemming from new ownership, this Opening Day was as special as any in Baltimore in a long time. The weather could have been nicer, but there was little else to complain about in a day the city truly needed. 

2. Buck Showalter used to say, “That’s what it looks like” when describing a special talent. Orioles fans have clamored for a legitimate ace since the days of Mike Mussina a quarter-century ago, and Corbin Burnes looked the part over six brilliant innings with a full array of pitches clicking. Impressive. 

3. The reputation of his cutter is hardly a secret, but Burnes’ curveball was particularly dominant as Angels hitters swung and missed on six of the 20 he threw. Seven of his 11 strikeouts came on that breaking pitch. Burnes said, “It’s one of those days where everything lines up.” Indeed. 

4. The Angels no longer have Shohei Ohtani, but they still have Mike Trout, who provided the only blemish of Burnes’ day with a home run in the first. You almost forget they have Anthony Rendon, who hasn’t played more than 58 games in a season since arriving in Los Angeles.

5. Rick Sutcliffe tossed a shutout in the first game at Camden Yards. Jimmy Key filled in admirably for Mussina in the 1997 opener. Pat Hentgen was outstanding — yes, look it up — in the 2001 opener. But speaking in terms of stuff, Burnes’ Opening Day Orioles debut ranks right up there. 


6. Anthony Santander’s contract year began with a homer over the left-field wall and four RBIs, tying for the second most in an Orioles season opener. Given the outfielders in the pipeline, I’m not sure an extension is in the cards, but Santander’s multiyear development has been quite the success story.

7. Lost in the 11-run output was Jordan Westburg’s RBI single with two outs in the first when it appeared the Orioles were about to settle for one run after loading the bases with no outs. There wasn’t much loud contact against Angels starter Patrick Sandoval, but Baltimore wore him out. 

8. No, spring training results don’t really matter, but you sensed Cedric Mullins needed that three-run homer in the seventh as he pumped his fist when the ball cleared the center-field wall. A 3-for-27 Grapefruit League following an injury-plagued 2023 will do that to anyone.  

9. After going 5-for-5 with a walk in his first Opening Day at Fenway Park last year, Adley Rutschman singled in his first two at-bats and later walked. What is it about season openers? “I don’t know. It’s nice to get two hits; it would have been nice to get five.”

10. After missing all of 2023 with elbow problems, Dillon Tate walked two and allowed a double in the eighth, but he was able to induce a couple grounders to finish off the inning. A return to his dependable 2022 form would be an encouraging development for the bullpen. 

11. Given the Orioles’ collection of infield prospects, many anticipated Mike Elias parting with either Jorge Mateo or Ramon Urias over the winter. You probably could have made decent money wagering that both would be in the Opening Day lineup without any injuries prompting that. 

12. David Rubenstein is 1-0 as owner of the Orioles. From the upcoming stadium renovations to figuring out the future of MASN, the new ownership group has no shortage of important issues to address and questions to answer to ensure long-term success on and off the field, but what a beginning.  

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