The Koji Era

-Game 2 of the 2009 season will be fun. I’m willing to guarantee it. Seeing Wang vs Uehara will be interesting. The O’s are coming off an impressive offensive display in beating the Yankees on Monday and will look to take the series before turning to a Thursday afternoon game. The O’s will most likely trot out a similar lineup, with the interesting twist of Melvin Mora batting cleanup. With Jones slotted to stay in 2 (looked pretty good on Monday) and Markakis hitting 3rd (your best hitter should hit in the 3 hole in my opinion), the team is inclined to have Mora or Huff in the cleanup role. We’ll see if the team shakes up the lineup alot or sticks to the same one. My early prediction is Trembley rides out this top 5 in the lineup through the first month.

-Jeremy Guthrie looked fine on Monday. I know he wasn’t at the top of his game but he faced a very tough lineup that could have had him out of the game early if he pitched the way he had in the WBC and Spring Training. He picked up the win and was in control for the most part. He kept the Yanks off their game by mixing his multiple pitches (showed the changeup at opportune times).

-Chris Ray’s first appearance was short and very unsweet. He looked fragile and needs to come out strong. Sure, he just came back to Majors after missing a year due to injury. But he didn’t help himself with his fans who wanted him to be closer (two thumbs pointing towards me). Jim Johnson will continue to pitch the 8th as Ray gets his “swagger” back. George Sherrill will remain closer longer than I expected if Ray is shaky. We could even see Ray get sent down if he throws a few of these kinds of appearances together. Dennis Sarfate could become the new 7th inning guy if Ray struggles as well.

-I’m still not expecting Caesar Izturis to hit more than 5 HR’s. To get 1 on Opening Day is nice though, especially with the nice little “fan interference” angle Damon tried to pull when his glove was clearly in the crowd (making it fair play). As long as Izturis continues to bring it on the defensive side, I’m fine with his signing. If he can hit .275-.280 with some speed on the basepaths while hitting 9th, he’ll continue to get my compliments.

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