Sunday's 5-2 win over the Yankees capped a tense week where the Orioles faced playoff elimination. But they won two of three games each in Toronto and New York after struggling all season on the road -- they were just 35-40 away from Camden Yards heading into the final two series.
Manager Buck Showalter follows up just about every strong run by the Orioles with the warning that “momentum is only as good as your next starting pitcher,” but he would rather not be proven right so easily.
Kevin Gausman has had his way with the Yankees in his past two starts, and on Saturday night at Camden Yards held New York to just two singles through six scoreless innings in a 2-0 Orioles win in front of an announced crowd of 30,855.
The Orioles drew just 15,532 fans to Camden Yards on Monday night for the opener of a critical showdown series against the Toronto Blue Jays, a meager figure by any measure for a home team that has spent most of the 2016 season in first place.
Fifty years ago Friday, the first-place Orioles defeated the California Angels, 2-1 on Boog Powell's walk-off home run before a jubilant 19,312 at Memorial Stadium. It was another in a season of storybook victories for the 1966 Orioles, who went on to win it all. Prior to playing the Angels at Camden Yards on Friday night, the club will pay homage to that team, trotting out a number of players from Baltimore's first World Series champion in a pregame tribute.
The Orioles reluctantly packed up for a long road trip on Sunday and left the friendly confines of Camden Yards, where they have piled up more home victories than any other major league team and own the sport's second-best home winning percentage. It didn't hurt that they took advantage of a couple of soft opponents to close out their recent homestand with a five-game winning streak or that they have played more home games than any other team, but winning more than 70 percent of your home games
On Friday, the Orioles will open their longest road trip of the season thus far: a three-city, nine-game, 10-day trip that will take them to face the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, forcing them to play games in three different time zones.
For the first time as visiting players Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore natives Steve Clevenger and Steve Johnson walked through the hallway under the Camden Yards concourse that leads to the clubhouses and had to fight off a strong impulse. Now members of the Seattle Mariners, they had to resist the urge to go into the Orioles clubhouse.
A new Oriole Garden underway at Camden Yards will benefit Baltimore residents in many ways by providing needed habitat for wildlife, creating local connections with nature and improving water quality by reducing polluted runoff going into the Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. The garden will feature plants that attract butterflies, honeybees and native birds — including the Baltimore Oriole — which depend on habitat in urban and suburban areas.