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Observation deck: Orioles need to play better on road

Observation deck: Orioles need to play better on road
Orioles' Jimmy Paredes walks to the dugout after striking out swinging with two men on base to end the top of the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, in Seattle. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

It's time for a case of road fever: The Orioles entered the weekend with the fourth-best home record (37-22) in the American League, behind only the Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros. So, no one should be surprised that they are having a pretty good homestand. If they could parlay that .627 winning percentage over the final 40 games of the season — home and away — they would finish with close to 90 victories.

Trouble is, they entered Friday night's game with the fifth-worst road record in the league (25-36, .410), so they've got to figure out a way to get comfortable in some opposing stadiums to keep hope alive for the division title.

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It certainly won't be easy, especially since it begins Monday with a four-game series in Kansas City, where the Royals entered Friday with the best home record (42-20, .677) and lead the AL Central by double-digits.

So, what's a struggling road team to do? The easy answer is, well, pitch better, because a lot of the teams on the Orioles' dance card are capable of shutting down a big-swinging lineup.

Tough month for Ryan Flaherty: Good to see Orioles utility guy Ryan Flaherty break out of that excruciating 0-for-34 streak Thursday night. He had gone 27 days between base hits, which has got to weigh on a player when his team is a roster-move machine.

It's important to remember that Flaherty isn't here for his bat. He's a terrific defensive player who can keep a team safe at every infield position. But with the entire starting infield healthy and productive, he only had eight at-bats in the three weeks preceding his streak-breaking single against the Minnesota Twins.

He has a tough job and he has contributed to the success of the Orioles in a lot of ways since he was claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Cut him a little slack.

MLB's new domestic violence program: Major League Baseball and the players union jointly announced the sport's new policy to deal with domestic violence by major league personnel, and it appears they have learned a few things from the NFL's recent missteps.

The new policy gives commissioner Rob Manfred wide latitude to discipline players accused of domestic violence by specifically avoiding setting a minimum or maximum punishment for any offense. That's smart because no two situations are exactly the same and because it prevents the commissioner from being handcuffed by precedent.

It also creates an arbitration panel consisting of an independent arbitrator and a representative of both the union and management to hear disciplinary appeals.

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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