Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Orioles.
The Orioles were criticized for not acquiring a big bat this offseason, but on Opening Day, it didn’t look like they needed one. In a 7-4 win at Tropicana Field, the Orioles got production from the middle of their lineup. No. 3 hitter Adam Jones went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in. No. 4 hitter Matt Wieters went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs batted in. And while No. 5 hitter Chris Davis went 1-for-4, that hit was a three-run home run off reliever Jake McGee that blew the game open in the top of the seventh inning. Combined, that trio went 6-for-12 with three doubles, two homers, seven runs batted in and five runs scored. Not too shabby.
27 -- pitches seen by Matt Wieters on Opening Day.
The Orioles were patient at the plate against the Rays. They scored just two runs off ace David Price, but they chased him by running up his pitch count to 100 through six innings. They continued to get good at-bats against the bullpen, looking at 59 pitches from Rays relievers in three innings, and scored five runs in the seventh inning. No player was more disciplined than Wieters. In his five plate appearances, Wieters saw 27 pitches. He took the first pitch every single time. In addition to a pair of extra-base hits, he drew two walks. The second was intentional, but the first was a great at-bat where he saw 13 pitches before taking ball four.
67.50 -- Jake McGee’s ERA on Tuesday.
The Rays eroded the Orioles’ early two-run lead, but the Orioles quickly regained the lead with a big inning against McGee, who replaced Price for the start of the seventh inning. McGee allowed consecutive hits to Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis before striking out Manny Machado for the second out of the inning. He couldn't get the third, though. Jones doubled to score both runners. And after McGee intentionally walked Wieters, Davis hit a towering three-run homer to right field and McGee got the hook. After allowing five runs in 2/3 of an inning, McGee's earned run average ballooned to 67.50. But hey, it has nowhere to go but down, right?
one -- career wins for Jason Hammel at Tropicana Field.
The 30-year-old right-hander came up through the Tampa Bay system and played his first three big league seasons with the Rays. But in his previous 31 appearances -- 11 of them starts -- at Tropicana Field, Hammel had not won a game. He changed that Tuesday with a quality start to open the season. Hammel allowed three runs on three hits over six innings. The Orioles were trailing, 3-2, when he left the game, but the Orioles scored those five runs in the top of the seventh to put him in position to get the win. Finally, Hammel got a 'W' at his old ballpark.
.231 -- Orioles’ batting average with runners in scoring position.
It's hard to find too many flaws in this season-opening win against an AL East rival, but the Orioles did strand several runners on Tuesday, a trend that carried over from a season ago. Collectively, Orioles hitters went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base. That being said, Jones and Davis had two of those three hits with two outs in a five-run seventh inning. So, like I said, this is a little bit of nitpicking here.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty stat you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter at @mattvensel. If I end up using it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.