Every year of my life, since I went to my first game at age 6, I went to an Orioles game. But not this year. For the first time in half a century, I did not find a way to catch an Orioles game. Loyalty, the way I see it, is a two-way street. I've done my part, but I am not so sure the Orioles have done theirs.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie fondly remembers those days growing up in Oregon ¿ riding his bike all around Roseburg, going to the local swimming pool and cheering on the basketball team at Umpqua Community College. All those memories came flooding back after a gunman opened fire at the school on Thursday, killing at least nine people before dying in a shootout with police.
An Orioles team muddling below .500 with just 20 games left in the regular season -- still six games back of the second American League wild-card spot -- took two of three from a Royals team with the best record in the AL this weekend at Camden Yards.
Despite Saturday¿s 14-6 loss to the Royals, the Orioles still have the opportunity today to record consecutive series wins for the first time since late July with a win tonight against Kansas City in front of a national TV audience on ESPN¿s Sunday Night Baseball.
In a 14-8 comeback victory over the Royals on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 45,420 at Camden Yards, it was as if the Orioles finally released some long-festering frustration on baseball's best bullpen.
The Orioles welcomed back one of their banged-up veterans to the starting lineup Friday, while another was out because of a lingering injury. Center fielder Adam Jones, who left Monday's game in the eighth inning with a sore right shoulder and hadn't played since, was in his customary third spot in the lineup Friday. Catcher Matt Wieters, who had been dealing with a sore left wrist for a week but started Tuesday, was out of the lineup with lingering wrist soreness.
After losing six of seven on this tough road trip, including 6-0 to the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon before an announced 22,256, the Orioles may be at their lowest point in an elevator season of ups and downs.
It's hard to find a positive aspect to the injury that sent shortstop J.J. Hardy to the disabled list at such a critical time in the season, but there have been a couple of uplifting developments that have come as a direct result.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. ¿ Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit his 35th homer of the season in Wednesday¿s 8-5 win over the Royals, but Davis¿ tremendous run-production numbers ¿ he is second in majors in homers and second in the AL with 91 RBIs ¿ have been accompanied by some big strikeout numbers.
The Orioles usually only have advanced meetings before the first game of a series, where they go over scouting reports for their upcoming opponents. But before facing Kansas City Royals' starter Johnny Cueto on Wednesday night, the club held an advanced meeting dedicated to solving the quirky right-hander.
The Orioles bashed five homers Wednesday ¿ three off Kansas City¿s prized trade-deadline acquisition, Johnny Cueto ¿ in an 8-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals that snapped their season-worst six-game losing streak in front of an announced crowd 33,003 at Kauffman Stadium.
Following another sub-par performance from right-hander Miguel Gonzalez in the Orioles¿ 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night, Orioles manager Buck Showalter indicated that Gonzalez will remain in the team¿s starting rotation.
Monday night's series opener ended in an all-too-familiar way, with the Orioles squandering another lead, falling victim to a nightmare seven-run sixth inning in an 8-3 loss to the Royals in front of an announced 27,797 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Orioles made a flurry of roster moves on Monday afternoon before their Thursday¿s series opener against the Kansas City Royals, among them designating veteran outfielder Nolan Reimold for assignment.
Two errors, including one by Manny Machado in his first inning as a big league shortstop, gave the Twins a 4-3 win in 12 innings, sending the plummeting Orioles to their fourth straight loss before an announced 35,144.
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.
With the trade deadline looming, these Sports Blitz power rankings double as a list of teams who will be buying at the deadline to solidify their title chances. Everyone on the outside is just playing catch-up to teams here, some of whom ¿ like the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros ¿ have already made their move. As always, these rankings are completely subjective, yet objectively correct.
First baseman Christian Walker homered four times over the course of the seven-game hitting streak he carried into Friday, giving him nine home runs on the season and raising his average to .262 with 12 hits in 31 at-bats during the streak. Walker entered the weekend second on the Tides in home runs, and tied for second behind outfielder Dariel Alvarez with 42 RBIs.
Neither Orioles third baseman Manny Machado nor manager Buck Showalter believe participating in Monday's Home Run Derby will negatively impact Machado's season, or the swing that has produced a career-high 19 home runs.
The fact that the Orioles and Royals each will send two relief pitchers to Cincinnati next week is emblematic of the outsized role that their bullpens have played in the dramatic resurgence of both franchises. Sure, there have been some pundits grumbling about the presence of setup man Darren O'Day on the AL team, but the best seventh-inning and eighth-inning relievers have been getting more All-Star love in recent years and it's about time.