Powered by first baseman Chris Davis' performance, the Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 in the rubber game of the opening series of the season on Thursday. The O's got a solid outing from starter Miguel Gonzalez, who picked up the win allowing two runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.
After a 7-4 Opening Day win, the Orioles' bullpen imploded in the second game of the series. Despite Davis' 4-4 effort, which included a three-run homer and four RBI, a walk-off blast from Rays outfielder Matt Joyce with no outs in the bottom of the ninth off Tommy Hunter gave the Rays an 8-7 win. In that loss, the bullpen (which was the biggest strength for the O's in 2012) allowed six runs and allowed an inherited runner to score in 2.1 innings.
Davis, who homered in each of the first two games, was at it again on Thursday, hitting a two-run home run in the top of the second and a two-run double in the sixth to give the Orioles a lead that they never relinquished. After three games, Davis' numbers are perhaps the most impressive in the league, as his line stands at .636/.692/1.727 with three homers and a league best 11 RBI. To put those numbers in prospective, Davis is on pace to hit 162 homers and drive in 594 runs.
Sadly, the top story of Thursday's game is Brian Roberts, who left the game with an apparent leg injury in the top of the ninth. Roberts, who has been plagued by injuries that has caused him to only play 115 games over the past three seasons, stole second base and came up in pain while holding his right knee. He was carried off the field, putting no pressure on his right leg.
The veteran played well in the opening series and seemed to be the Brian Roberts of old. Batting ninth, the second baseman was 5-for-12 with a run and a clutch RBI double that tied the game 7-7 in the top of the ninth of Wednesday's game. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Friday (via masnsports).
The home opener for the Orioles is on Friday, as they set to start a series with the Minnesota Twins, who are coming off an impressive series win over the Detroit Tigers. The pitching matchups for the series are as follows:
Friday - RHP Liam Hendriks (0-0, -ERA) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, -ERA)
Saturday - RHP Vance Worley (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (0-0, -ERA)
Sunday - LHP Pedro Hernandez (0-0, -ERA) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
Orioles' starter Chris Tillman is currently on the disabled list, but is set to be activated before Saturday's game. With the severity of Brian Roberts' injury unknown, it is unclear whether or not the O's will be forced to make a roster move to make room for Tillman. If Roberts' injury requires a DL stint, the O's may activate Tillman and continue with a short bench for the time being.
*update* - Brian Roberts is out three-to-four weeks with a strained hamstring.