Talking Behind Their Back: Rays
Baltimore's split of a two-game series with Tampa Bay offers some good news and some bad news. On the positive side, the reigning AL champs didn't sweep the Orioles. On the negative side, they should've been able to sweep the Rays. If Baltimore was ever going to get the chance to get two against Tampa Bay it was while they were trotting out the back end of their rotation. Obviously that didn't happen as the O's walloped Andy Sonnanstine on Tuesday but were held in check by Jeff Niemann.
What was truly disheartening for the Orioles was the fact that in the second game they scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Rays closer Troy Percival. Unfortunately, in the previous half inning reliever Bob McCrory had allowed four runs, which had left the Orioles in an 8-2 hole.
While the Orioles were forced to settle for a two-game split with the Tampa Bay Rays, they are probably a bit happy to make it out alive.
The injury bug has hit Baltimore pretty bad in the past few days: Luke Scott is struggling with a strained shoulder, Felix Pie is trying to shake off a bout with food poisoning and Adam Jones is listed as day-to-day after again tweaking his hamstring. Add in Lou Montanez's continued thumb woes and it leads to the Orioles calling up hot-hitting outfielder Nolan Reimold.
The Orioles optioned McCrory to make room for Reimold but McCrory's shoddy ninth inning had nothing to do with the decision, which was made during the game. Another move on the horizon could involve Rich Hill finally joining Baltimore having now made several rehab starts.
Manager Dave Trembley said last night that he's not sure how he'll use Reimold, as it will depend on the relative health of the team's outfielders not named Nick Markakis. Reimold is hitting .394 with nine homers and 27 RBI in 31 games with Class AAA Norfolk. Reimold may find it hard to transition his hitting to the majors simply because of whom he may face in his first major league at-bats.
The Orioles head to Kansas City for a four-game series beginning tonight. The Royals will start Gil Meche tonight but the real challenge will come Friday night when Baltimore will have to go against the majors' best pitcher Zack Greinke -- the man who has allowed just three earned runs in seven starts. With Adam Eaton slated to go opposite Greinke I'd probably pencil in Friday night's game as a loss for the O's. The Orioles may also be surprised at the crowd turnout for Friday's game since the Royals haven't given fans much to cheer about but with Greinke on the mound, there could be plenty of Missourians in the stands of the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium.
The other three games could be winnable. Meche, Kyle Davies (Game 3, Sunday) and Luke Hochevar (Game 4, Monday) all have gotten touched up recently (though Hochevar has only made one start this season). Jeremy Guthrie gets the start for the Orioles tonight while Koji Uehara will see if he can get some run support against Kyle Davies (5.22 ERA) on Sunday and Mark Hendrickson (or possibly Rich Hill?) while appear for Baltimore in the finale.
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