No matter how far behind they fall, the 2008 Orioles refuse to quit.
Last night, they trailed 5-0 after the third inning. Starting pitcher Adam Loewen was knocked out of the game after 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, five runs and three walks. Today the Orioles placed Loewen on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness.
The Orioles failed to convert on two early scoring chances. They had runners on the corners with one out in the first inning, but Kevin Millar struck out and Nick Markakis was caught stealing to end the threat. In the third, the O's had the bases loaded, but Millar popped out to conclude the inning.
After three innings, it looked like the Mariners were going to win the game easily. It seemed like missed opportunities would again haunt the Orioles, but they scored in five of the last six innings to take the 8-7 victory.
Even after Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run home run against relief pitcher Jamie Walker in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, the Orioles didn't panic. Instead, second baseman Brian Roberts led off the top of the eighth with a solo home run.
It was the second consecutive game that featured a game-winning solo home run in the top of the eighth. Markakis hit one on Wednesday to give the O's a 3-2 win.
Friday 4/25: Brian Burres (2-1, 3.63) vs. Mark Buerhle (1-2, 5.96)
Saturday 4/26: Steve Trachsel (1-3, 5.23) vs. John Danks (2-1, 3.04)
Sunday 4/27: Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 4.18) vs. Jose Contreras (1-2, 4.68)
Monday 4/28: Daniel Cabrera (2-0, 4.40) vs. Javier Vazquez (3-2, 4.40)
Who you should play from the White Sox
Jim Thome, DH – Thome is only hitting .236 for the season, but he's 8-for-20 in his last six games. He was 2-for-4 with a three-run home run against the Orioles on April 16. In 106 career games against the Orioles, Thome is hitting .260 with 24 home runs and 83 RBIs. Since he's exclusively a designated hitter, it may be difficult to find room for him in your lineup. Make sure he is active this weekend because he'll continue to climb out of his season-opening slump.
Who you should bench from the White Sox
Nick Swisher, CF – Swisher shouldn't be starting this weekend because he is struggling at the plate. Although he is tied for second in the American League in walks (18), Swisher is only hitting .232. He only has three hits in his last 20 at-bats. Swisher has eight home runs and 16 RBIs in 22 career games against the Orioles, but he's only hitting .239. At this point, Swisher should only be in your starting lineup if you are unable to replace him with another viable outfielder.
Who you should play from the Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B – OK, maybe I was just kidding about benching Roberts before the Orioles played the Mariners. Roberts was 4-for-11 with a home run, a stolen base and four runs scored in the series. Luckily I don't have another second baseman, so he was in my starting lineup. The slump seems to be finished, so make sure he's in your lineup this weekend.
Who you should bench from the Orioles
Ramon Hernandez, C – Unlike Roberts, Hernandez can't break out of his slump. He was 2-for-12 during the three games in Seattle and his batting average dropped to .188. In 50 career games, Hernandez is hitting .251 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. He was 0-for-4 in the first series against the White Sox this season. Hernandez won't hit .188 all season, but you should start considering other alternatives soon.