The Baltimore Orioles won their sixth straight season opener Monday. Considering their recent history, the victory should hardly be considered an indicator of a successful year to come.
Bedard will be looking to follow up a victory by right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who won his second straight opening day start Monday, 9-6 over the Rays. Lopez, who defeated Oakland 4-0 in the opener last year, allowed five earned runs in seven innings, but home runs by Luis Matos, Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada and Jeff Conine lifted Baltimore.
“I’m glad it’s over with a W,” manager Sam Perlozzo said. “It was a good day for all of us.”
Now Perlozzo turns to Bedard, who went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his first nine starts last season before a ligament strain in his left knee sidelined him in May. He went 1-7 with a 5.44 ERA after returning early in the second half.
Bedard was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay last season, and is 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA in nine games, including eight starts, in his career against the Rays.
The left-hander undoubtedly wouldn’t mind getting the same run support that Lopez got. Baltimore’s four homers matched a franchise record for opening day, set by the 1982 club, and eight Orioles drove in a run.
“We basically have a veteran bunch of players, so they know what to do once the light switch goes on,” hitting coach Terry Crowley said. “I’m very happy with the outcome today.”
Baltimore also got an encouraging performance from new closer Chris Ray, as the 24-year-old right-hander pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first career save.
Opening day starter Scott Kazmir and the Rays couldn’t bring new manager Joe Maddon a victory in his first game, so Maddon will give the ball to Seth McClung on Wednesday. The 25-year-old right-hander went 7-11 with a 6.59 ERA in 17 starts and 17 relief appearances last year after missing much of 2003 and ’04 following elbow surgery.
McClung was 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA in three appearances against Baltimore in 2005. He won his only start against the Orioles, working five innings and allowing four runs in a 7-5 victory July 22.
Tampa Bay shortstop Julio Lugo left Monday’s game with an abdominal strain in the fourth inning. He received treatment Tuesday, but his status for Wednesday is uncertain.
“They swung the bats pretty good today and when we made mistakes, they did not miss it,” Maddon said.
The teams conclude their series Thursday night.