Postgame thoughts on the Orioles’ 4-2 win
On one of the first days of spring, Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis dutifully stood at his locker in Sarasota, Fla., and patiently answered questions about January’s abdominal surgery and the long road of rehab he still had ahead. He was unsure about his exact schedule, or how normal his recovery was, but the one thing Markakis never wavered on over seven weeks was that he would be ready to run out on the orange carpet with his teammates come Opening Day.
On Friday, Markakis — who routinely gets one of the loudest ovations in pregame introductions — didn’t just suit up and start. He stole the show; blasting a home run and a triple and picking up three RBIs in the Orioles’ 4-2 season-opening win over the Twins.
You can read quotes and reactions on the Orioles’ season-opening victory –which also included a stellar start from Jake Arrieta — up here on Orioles.com.
A few observations and notes post-game…
*The first-inning homer to left field was Nick Markakis’ first homer to left since 2008, according to Baseball Reference. That’s definitely good to see. Markakis, who also tripled, said he’s focused this season on finding a more consistent stance at the plate and not having 30 different stances up there.
*Chris Davis made a few nice plays at first base, including corralling in a throw from Mark Reynolds in the eighth that could have had damaging effects given that there were runners on base. Davis went 0-for-3 at the plate.
*Matt Lindstrom threw his hardest pitch at 96 mph, his first official pitch as an Oriole. Lindstrom hit the 97 and 98 range this spring, and it’s hard to tell a lot from his first outing with a new team, but he could end up being a guy who manager Buck Showalter turns to in the later innings. Lindstrom pitched around a pair of singles in the eighth to toss a scoreless frame.
*Jake Arrieta said he just wanted to set the tone. He also set the bar pretty high in going seven scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. The 26-year-old Arrieta left little doubt to those of us down in Spring Training that he was back –and better — since that offseason elbow surgery. He could be in line for a big year.
*The Orioles played in front of a sellout crowd this afternoon, something Showalter, Arrieta and Markakis all singled out post-game.
“That was great,” Showalter said of the atmosphere. “I’m an old fuddy-duddy. I get emotional a couple times today just seeing how much it means to the people in Baltimore. I’m not going to group everybody in baseball. This is different. They grow up with the Orioles. I’ll be the first to tell you, it gives me a lot more responsibility, anxiety, delivering what they deserve. For all of us. And we know how great it can be here. And it’s our responsibility – you’ve heard me say it 100 times – you see a game like that, you just hope that they keep that hope like we do. That atmosphere is special and I know it used to be like that every night. Our players, I know they get a taste of it. This group of guys talks about it. They know what this fan base is like and it’s up to us to tap deeper into it.”