Jonathan Schoop was hanging out at his locker Wednesday afternoon when Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who had been talking with shortstop J.J. Hardy nearby, pointed to Schoop and said, "You and J.J. today."
Now that their chances at the postseason are finished, the Orioles sure have mixed up their lineup today, with Adam Jones not starting for the first time since 2011. He has played in 322 consecutive games dating back to his last miss on Sept. 25, 2011
But the Orioles' faint postseason hopes died with their 3-2 10 inning loss combined with the Cleveland Indians' 5-4 walkoff win over the Chicago White Sox. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Orioles, tying a season high.
The Orioles lost their fifth consecutive game on Monday, a 5-4 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays that ended when pinch-hitter James Loney hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning against right-hander Tommy Hunter.
Six of the eight Orioles who played all 18 innings in Friday's six hour, 54-minute marathon were in Saturday's starting lineup. It took them until the ninth to score in Saturday's 5-1 defeat to the Rays.
On Friday night (and Saturday morning), the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays combined for the longest game, time-wise, in both franchises' histories, a six hour, 54-minute, 18-inning ordeal that ended on David DeJesus' single to right that gave the celebrating Rays a 5-4 win.
For the first time in his professional career, usual No. 2 hitter Manny Machado is leading off. Adam Jones, who has hit exclusively third or fourth this season, is batting second. And Danny Valencia, who is 9-for-12 lifetime against Tampa Bay starter David Price, is batting cleanup.
Former Orioles star and current front office executive Brady Anderson jokes that he began planning how to celebrate Chris Davis' 50th home run about three months ago after Davis hit his 30th homer of the season.
For the second straight night, the Orioles' late-inning fate was left to the bullpen Wednesday, and for the second consecutive night, the New York Yankees spoiled the Orioles' hopes for gaining ground in the American League wild-card race.
Down to their final out, the Orioles finally came though with men on, as Matt Wieters hit a two-out, two-run single in the 10th inning to deliver a 4-3 comeback win in front of an announced 23,653 at Camden Yards.
Often in the past 15 years, the Orioles have used September as a proving ground for the following season, experimenting with what they had in order to get a better idea of what they needed to fortify in the winter. That won't be the case with the team in the playoff chase in 2013.
The Orioles traded for right-hander Scott Feldman just more than two months ago to fortify their starting rotation. They believed the veteran they acquired from the Chicago Cubs would be a valuable asset in their chase for a playoff spot.
Wilson Betemit has struggled to regain his stroke since returning from a right knee injury that robbed him of most of the season, and as it appears now, his role as the Orioles' designated hitter against right-handed pitching has all but diminished.
The reports on right-hander Jason Hammel's second minor-league rehab start for short-season Class-A Aberdeen were positive and the Orioles' Opening Day starter will rejoin the club in Baltimore Thursday.
And when Indians ace Justin Masterson was forced from Monday¿s series opener in the second inning with soreness on the left side of his rib cage, the door of opportunity swung wide open as the Orioles stormed through with a 7-2 win in front of an announced 15,020 at Progressive Field
CLEVELAND ¿ When Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis was called out on an appeal play in the second inning of the Orioles¿ 7-2 win over Cleveland on Monday, manager Buck Showalter couldn¿t argue much because he was following the path of Nate McLouth¿s double into the right-center field gap.