Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly shares his thoughts on Marcus Stroman's pitch at Caleb Joseph's head, Ubaldo Jimenez starting Tuesday, John Gibbons' thoughts on the Orioles and more.

I have come to accept the whole "throw at a guy" concept in baseball to protect your own. It's just one of those things.

And the Toronto Blue Jays obviously felt that Caleb Joseph was in the wrong and blocking the plate when he stepped on Jose Reyes' hand on a play at home plate in the fifth inning Monday.


So Marcus Stroman threw at Joseph in the catcher's next at-bat. Both sides were warned by umpire Ted Barrett and the game went on. But Stroman, who is just a 23-year-old rookie, has to learn -- and learn quickly -- that you can't throw at someone's head.

His 92-mph fastball was head-high and behind Joseph. That's way too dangerous, and there's no place for that. No question it was intentional, but what's more concerning is where the pitch was.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter called Stroman's act "borderline professionally embarrassing." Frankly, it wasn't borderline.

* When the Orioles signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million deal, it was with the hope that he could help them get into the playoffs. And, in a really bizarre way, he could Tuesday. Jimenez gets the spot start against the Blue Jays, his first start since Aug. 16.

He is 4-9 with a 4.96 ERA in 22 games (20 starts) and has been a big disappointment to both the club and himself. But he continues to keep smiling and working, and he'll get a chance to be on the mound when the Orioles clinch their first division title in 17 years.

It would be a real shock if he were included on the club's playoff roster, so this will be his last chance to pitch a meaningful game for the Orioles in 2014.

* Toronto manager John Gibbons said he was impressed with the Orioles as a whole this year and said that the difference between the two clubs was the Orioles' defense.

He also was complimentary about how so many guys have stepped up for them this year.

"[Nelson] Cruz has been really big for them. [Jonathan] Schoop coming into his own has been a hell of a player for them. They had some big [additions]," Gibbons said. "[Steve] Pearce stepping up, Delmon Young, some veteran guys. Delmon is one of those guys that show up late in seasons with different teams, and he is always productive. Teams get him for a reason. I think [Andrew] Miller was a huge addition to an already good bullpen."

* Monday's announced crowd at Camden Yards was 25,061, pushing the 75-date season total to 2,271,216. With five home games left, the Orioles need to average just 17,267 to surpass last year's attendance total of 2.36 million. That's significant for two reasons. One, the Orioles will draw more fans this year than in 2013 despite having one fewer home game (they had a single-gate doubleheader on May 1). Two, once they pass last year's total the Orioles will have reached their highest attendance since 2005's 2.625 million. That one won't be touched in 2014.

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