This, that and the other

So what’s the Orioles’ uniform of the day?

Maybe all black with an orange cap and cartoon bird. Or go all orange again until they lose. But please, no pillbox caps like the Pirates wore.

A victory today would give the Orioles four straight series wins, all since Buck Showalter took over as manager. This would be the first of the group against a division opponent, which happens to lead the American League’s wild card race.

Don’t forget Showalter’s quote during the last homestand about playing the role of spoiler. He didn’t seem too jazzed about it.

“I don’t think anybody wakes up and says, ‘Boy, it would really hurt them if we beat them.’ If that’s your driving force, I’m OK with that if it makes you play better, but I don’t think that’s something to get up in the morning thinking about.”

Well, it beats waking up and thinking, “Are we really going to finish with the worst record in franchise history?”

As for that first overall pick in next year’s draft, the Pirates have lost five in a row and own baseball’s worst record at 39-76. The Orioles are 41-75, followed by Seattle at 45-71 and Arizona at 46-71.

Something else to think about when you wake up.

Jeremy Guthrie told reporters last night that it’s no coincidence that the Orioles have “turned it around since Buck showed up.”

“He hasn’t done anything necessarily different to make us win games, but I think we respect him as a manager, we know what he expects and we’ve played good baseball with him here. No magic formula, but maybe just a good shift in gears for us and we need to keep it up.”

Guthrie turned in the 10th quality start from the rotation in 11 games under Showalter. The Orioles are hitting .382 with runners in scoring position.

Are you telling me they could have done this sooner?

Good to know.

Brian Matusz opposes Andy Sonnanstine today. Matusz has allowed two runs in 12 innings with Showalter in the dugout. Sonnanstine is making his second start since replacing injured Jeff Niemann in the Rays’ rotation. In his first outing, Toronto’s Brandon Morrow came within an out of a no-hitter.

I’m just saying...

You wonder about Showalter’s attention to detail? He also told reporters yesterday that he wants the practice fields at Ed Smith Stadium to have the exact same dimensions as Camden Yards.

“Same foul grounds, same fence in right field, same angles, same everything,” he said.

Janet Marie Smith might want to get those blueprints ready for the warehouse.

Down on the farm, Troy Patton pitched for the first time since July 28 and took the loss for Triple-A Norfolk. Eased back into competition, he allowed four runs (two earned) and five hits in four innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 69 pitches, 43 for strikes.

The two unearned runs scored when Jeff Salazar dropped a fly ball. Typical of Patton’s luck, it was Salazar’s first error in 166 chances.

Shameless plug alert: I’ll be joining Tom Davis and Phil Wood on Wall-To-Wall Baseball today beginning at 11 a.m. on MASN and 105.7 The Fan.

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