When the Orioles boarded their team buses and headed for the airport late Sunday afternoon, it’s hard to imagine that anyone was worried about getting homesick.
They have suffered through a very cold April in more ways than one, and — even after beating the Detroit Tigers to win their first home series of the season — they had to be happy to be putting one of the franchise’s worst first months of a season in the rear view.
Manager Buck Showalter was asked soon after Pedro Álvarez’s second multihomer game of the series propelled the O’s to a 5-3 victory if he might actually be looking forward to playing some games on the West Coast.
“What do you think?” he said.
Under normal circumstances, nobody likes to play on the opposite coast, but the O’s split two home games in March and shivered through a 7-19 April that seemed to feature rain and blustery weather at every turn.
Who can say how much those conditions affected the Orioles’ long offensive slump or troublesome injury situation, but baseball players generally prefer warm weather and figure to get some out west. The temperature in Anaheim will be in the mid-60s to mid-70s while the Orioles are there, but there is a small chance of rain for the Wednesday and Thursday games.
Right-hander Kevin Gausman turned in another solid start Sunday and echoed the desire to turn the page on a very rough start and take a new attitude on a road trip to face the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.
“It's huge — the first series win here at home,’’ said Gausman, who gave up just one run over 5 2/3 innings to even his record at 2-2. “In the rubber match, you're always trying to pitch well and win that last game. I just wanted us to kind of have some good vibes going into our trip to California. If we lose that game, it's a tough five-hour trip, so now we have a happy flight, and hopefully can kind of hit the ground running.”
The Orioles hope to get an offensive boost in the next few days. Mark Trumbo completed his injury rehabilitation assignment with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C., and is headed for California to join the team. He could be activated as soon as Tuesday.
The club is expected to make on the roster by placing Luis Sardiñas (back soreness) on the disabled list. The O’s also appear likely to add an infielder after Danny Valencia had to be scratched from Sunday’s lineup with a tight hamstring.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.