Orioles closer Zach Britton is not revealing what physical issues he's dealing with right now, but he said getting a second straight day of rest Thursday was helpful after pitching consecutively from Sunday to Tuesday.
The Orioles head into free agency — which starts in earnest Saturday with free agents permitted to negotiate with all 30 teams for the first time this offseason — in a much different situation than this time last year. Executive vice president Dan Duquette is not only in place as club's decision-maker, but he seems to be established as a man with a plan.
Making his first start at catcher since July 28, Taylor Teagarden took advantage of Sunday's start, driving in the game's only run with a two-out, 10th-inning double off Rays reliever Joel Peralta to give the Orioles a 1-0 win over the Rays.
Brian Matusz provided his finest performance of the season, giving the Orioles his fourth consecutive quality start and more importantly, creating a two-way tie between the teams atop the American League East standings heading into Sunday¿s afternoon series finale.
Despite having not won a game in nearly a week, the Orioles woke up Friday morning somehow still in first place in the American League East. By the end of the night, their struggles would finally catch up with them.
Nick Johnson's brief career in an Orioles uniform has been less than stellar. But on Friday night, with sole possession of first place in the American League East on the line, he played the role of hero.
The Orioles play in their final Grapefruit League game today against the Rays. After today, the Orioles will play three more exhibition games, including the first two at Ed Smith Stadium against Florida Southern on Monday night and then State College of Florida on Tuesday afternoon.