Let the second half begin.
If I remember correctly, the Orioles won the toss back in April and elected to receive, so they’ll begin tonight’s game on defense.
They’ve got a spot to fill on their roster after placing catcher Matt Wieters on the disabled list, retroactive to Saturday. Third baseman Josh Bell is expected to be recalled.
Update: The Orioles just confirmed that they called up Bell.
Felix Pie is available tonight after injuring his quad last Friday night while swinging at a pitch. It’s not automatic that he’ll start against Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero, especially with Jake Fox unable to DH and also serve as the backup catcher.
Fox will probably start at first base, with Ty Wigginton serving as DH. That leaves left field for Pie or Corey Patterson.
The other option is starting Fox at first and Wigginton at second, with Julio Lugo going to the bench. Pie or Patterson could DH.
Bell could DH, assuming he’s recalled, but he’s much better from the left side. He’s hitting .277 with 10 homers in 213 at-bats against right-handers for Triple-A Norfolk, and .233 with no homers in 73 at-bats vs. southpaws.
If I’m interim manager Juan Samuel, I’m starting Wigginton at second base, but removing him for a pinch-hitter before his first at-bat.
I’m inclined to look forward to the second half, but I’ll glance over my shoulder one more time.
* The Orioles had nine players on the disabled list in the first half: Michael Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Kevin Millwood, Lou Montanez, Pie, Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara. Pie, Simon and Uehara are on the active roster. I guess Matt Wieters counts as a second-half casualty, though he was injured last weekend.
* The Orioles are 14-12 in one-run games, but just 3-12 in games decided by two runs.
* According to Elias, the Orioles became the third team since 1969 to have their first four wins of the year saved by a different pitcher - Gonzalez, Johnson, Cla Meredith and Simon. That’s not usually a good thing.
* Nick Markakis leads the majors with 28 doubles. Since the start of the 2007 season, only Boston’s Dustin Pedroia (165) has more doubles than Markakis’ 164.
* More Markakis: His .308 average, 35 extra-base hits and 31 multi-hit games lead the Orioles. He’s hit in 20 of his last 24 games, going 33-92 (.359) during that span. He’s reached base safely in a team-high 17 consecutive games.
* Adam Jones batted .251 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 50 games in April and May. Jones is batting .313 with nine homers and 24 RBIs in 37 games in June and July. He’s now tied with Wigginton for the team lead in home runs with 14.
* Will Ohman set the franchise record for most appearances without a decision (45).
* Oriole pitchers turned in 40 quality starts in 88 games. They didn’t record their 41st quality start last year until the 110th game. However, the club’s starters were 16-43 at the break this season, the fewest wins by any rotation in the American League.
* Opposing pitchers have made 60 quality starts against the Orioles, including a franchise record-tying 13 straight from May 26 to June 9. Opposing starters have posted a 2.94 ERA against the Orioles.
Too many injuries, too many blown saves early, too many offensive blackouts, too many errors and misplays in the field, not enough contributions from the free agents signed over the winter.
A team lost 59 games, the most in the majors. A manager lost his job.
I’d rather look ahead.