Forecasts calling for inclement weather throughout the Orioles' final homestand have already forced a scheduling change for Thursday's series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays and could cause the team's regular season to bleed over into Monday.
After consulting with Major League Baseball, the Orioles moved their Thursday game, originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m., up to a 12:05 p.m. start.
"The way I understand it, the weather gets increasingly worse after 4 o'clock and we want to put a four-hour window there, hopefully," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Also, the challenge of the weather this weekend potentially with New York, you don't want to be playing doubleheaders against two different teams on Monday. It was our best chance to get the game in. Who knows what the weather could change, but all the things we have at our disposal, it seems smart to everybody to try to play at 12 tomorrow."
Tuesday's game against Toronto was rained out, forcing the teams to play a single-admission doubleheader Wednesday, so the teams are scheduled to play three games in a 24-hour span.
But this might not be the worst of it. With Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on the East Coast over the weekend, the Orioles' final three games of the season against the New York Yankees could also be in jeopardy.
The Yankees could come to Camden Yards still needing to clinch home-field advantage in the American League wild-card game, so those games are potentially important.
It's possible that none of it will matter by then, but if the Blue Jays are playing for home-field advantage in the AL and the Yankees are yet to clinch the top wild-card berth, there is the possibility of a makeup game (or two) at Camden Yards.
Machado wants to play 162
Showalter met with third baseman Manny Machado, offering him a game off in Wednesday's doubleheader. But Machado is aiming to play in all 162 games this season.
"I want to know how important that is to Manny, so it is and he'll play," Showalter said. "It's just something you don't ever assume as a manager and when someone has played that many games, he deserves to have a say on it."
After starting both games of Wednesday's doubleheader, Machado has played in all 158 games this season. He is the only player to play in every game in 2015 and holds the longest active consecutive-games streak.
Machado has expressed the desire to play every game after each of his previous two seasons were shortened by knee injuries that required season-ending surgery.
"I did tell him," Showalter said. "It's something that when you go along in your career and what have you, there's going to be a lot of things I hope that you're going to be real proud of, but you're always going to be able to tell the young whippersnappers that come through, 'I posted up 162 that year. What did you do? And I came off surgery.' It's something you can be really proud of and not many people can do. … He was like, 'Oh yeah, I want to do it.'"
Gonzalez happy to return
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez didn't exactly wow anybody during the first game of Wednesday's twinbill, but that wasn't what was important about his first major league start since Aug. 30 and his last start of 2015.
"It was good to throw every single pitch … all my pitches. … That was good," he said afterward. "It was a good feeling to be out there again, obviously to compete."
Gonzalez wanted to get back from his bout with elbow and shoulder soreness before the end of the regular season so that he could embark on a normal winter conditioning program.
"I think mentally, it was important for me just to see how I feel in actual competition against hitters," he said. "And I thought it was important for me to go out there and throw all my pitches."
Unless he makes another appearance, Gonzalez will finish 9-12 with a 4.91 ERA in 26 starts after going 30-21 with a 3.45 ERA in 75 games (69 starts) over his first three seasons with the Orioles.
Matusz to have offseason surgery
Left-hander Brian Matusz is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on an arthritic AC joint in his right (nonthrowing) shoulder Monday, the day after the regular season ends.
"It's just been something that's bothering him as he turns," Showalter said. "It's ... outpatient. They think it's pretty minor. … Guys have had this stuff. He won't be the only one, I'm sure, who has something done."
Matusz said he has pitched through the ailment since spring training. He had a cortisone shot in the spring, but he said it started to bother him again shortly after the All-Star break. Matusz is expected to be available out of the bullpen the rest of the season.
"We want to do it early, right when the season ends, so just to get it done and get it out of the way, just to get it done and get back to training and get ready for next year," Matusz said. "It's a pretty minor procedure. I think the rehab is pretty minimal for the most part. It's the external part of the shoulder, so there's nothing internal or anything serious."
Matusz induced an inning-ending double play from the only batter he faced in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, needing just two pitches to get two outs in the ninth inning. Matusz, who is 1-4 with a 2.94 ERA this season, has allowed runs in four of his past nine outings, yielding five runs over five innings.
Around the horn
Center fielder Adam Jones did not start either game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Though Jones said Tuesday that it is possible he won't play again this season because of lingering back soreness, Showalter still left open the possibility. "I'm not going to broadcast it, where he is physically, but I hope so," Showalter said. … Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will start Saturday's game against the Yankees, which would leave right-hander Chris Tillman to start on Sunday's season finale. … Showalter said Tuesday night's rainout afforded him the opportunity to get a jump on his end-of-season exit meetings with his players. Showalter tries to talk to each player about his offseason regimen to make sure everyone is working in the same direction.