While many big league teams will start their seasons today and the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros kicked off 2013 last night (Anyone see Erik Bedard warming up in the Astros bullpen with Dennis Martinez looking on? Or Dave Trembley slapping Rick Ankiel's hand as he rounded third base on a sixth inning homer? Strange sights, indeed.), the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays don't begin until Tuesday afternoon.
So we have one more day of speculation – I'm sure you didn't get enough of that in the past seven weeks.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he'll give us Tuesday's starting lineup during Monday afternoon's workout at Tropicana Field.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price will pitch for the Rays, so that could make Tuesday's Opening Day lineup somewhat unconventional. Showalter could go right-hander heavy against the lefty Price. Steve Pearce could get the start at designated hitter and Nolan Reimold could start in left field.
I am not sure Showalter will do that. It's the first game of the season and my guess is that he wants his best players out there. Also, righties and lefties both struggle against Price, so I'm not sure playing matchups makes that much of a difference in this case.
So that would mean Nate McLouth is in the starting lineup, and probably in left, since it would be ideal to leave Reimold off the turf and at DH in his first major league game since last April.
I'm pretty sure I know who will bat first (Nick Markakis) and last (Brian Roberts). Showalter's been close to the vest about the middle.
Right-handed hitting Manny Machado batted second Thursday night against Price. And when I asked about whether that was a possibility for Opening Day, Showalter changed the subject.
So I wouldn't be surprised if that happens Tuesday, but Showalter may want to ease the 20-year-old into that spot. So he could use the right-handed hitting Reimold to hit second. Or maybe McLouth, but then that means there would potentially be three lefties in a row if Chris Davis were to hit third in front of righty Adam Jones and switch-hitter Matt Wieters.
I'm guessing that Adam Jones, the primary cleanup hitter last year, will bat third with Wieters fourth and Davis fifth against Price.
We'll see in a few hours.
But here are my three guesses:
Markakis 9, McLouth 7, Jones 8, Wieters 2, Davis 3, Hardy 6, Reimold DH, Machado 5, Roberts 4. Hammel 1.
Or: Markakis 9, Machado 5, Jones 8, Wieters 2, Davis 3, Hardy 6, McLouth 7, Reimold DH, Roberts 4. Hammel 1.
Or: Markakis 9, Reimold DH, Jones 8, Wieters 2, Davis 3, Hardy 6, McLouth 7, Machado 5, Roberts 4. Hammel 1.
What do you think?