Five things we learned about opening weekend in MLB

The Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts (1), Mark Reynolds (12) and Derrek Lee (25) celebrate with teammates and third base coach John Russell (77) following their 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays during their MLB American League baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

There’s a good chance that this post will be irrelevant in the next couple of weeks but I’m going to write it anyway. You can’t tell me what to do.

Here are five things we learned about opening weekend in MLB.

1. The Orioles are for real.
I’m kidding – relax. The Orioles are for real after just three games? That’s an over exaggeration on my part, although who can blame the Baltimore faithful for being excited about the start of the season? Their team just swept the Rays on the road and did so in rather convincing fashion, limiting Tampa to just three runs in three games. Considering how brash Buck Showalter was this offseason in his comments about Theo Epstein and Derek Jeter, it has to be refreshing for fans that the O’s came out of the gates hot. It’s also nice to see Brian Roberts (4-for-13, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 runs) get off to a good start after injuries limited his production last year, and guys like Nick Markakis make plays both offensive and defensively (what a catch he had over the weekend when he crashed into the wall). Given the young talent that this club has, it’s not a stretch to think that they could surprise this year in the AL. But if nothing else, at least there’s a little excitement in Baltimore again.

2. The Red Sox’ pitching is still a concern.
Again, again, again: It’s early. Just because the Rangers swept the Red Sox over the weekend doesn’t mean that the BoSox won’t make the playoffs or that they’re overrated. That said, this was about as bad of a start for the Red Sox as Yankee fans could ask for. They dropped three consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 1996, they were outscored 26-11 and their pitchers surrendered a whopping 11 home runs in just three games. Jon Lester gave up a career-high three home runs, while John Lackey served up two and Clay Buchholz gave up four solo shots. Granted, pitchers know that when they travel to Texas their chances of serving up a long ball are great. But 11 home runs in three days? Yikes. This was an ass kicking to say the least and one that brings Boston’s pitching concerns back into focus.

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