Start spreading the news: Orioles aren't fading

The media already made a big fuss over Buck Showalter's return to New York, though he did it plenty of times while managing the Rangers. Now he'll see the Yankees for the first time from the home dugout at Camden Yards.

It's not often that the Yankees have genuine concerns about facing the Orioles in September. Things really have changed around here.

The Orioles are 26-15 under Showalter, compared to 15-39 under Dave Trembley and 17-34 under Juan Samuel. We wondered if three different managers would fail to win 20 games. We clearly underestimated Showalter or completely lost faith in this club.

Raise your hand if you're guilty.

The Orioles have won nine of their last 11 games, along with four straight series. As I wrote yesterday, they haven't taken five in a row since Aug. 4-18, 1998.

The Orioles' rotation turned in six quality starts on the last road trip. Two more surfaced in the Toronto series. And we might be looking at nine straight if Brian Matusz hadn't taken a line drive off his left triceps.

Guess we can't combine his start with Rick VandenHurk's relief appearance.

Kevin Millwood gets the ball tonight, and he's recorded quality starts in five of his last seven outings. Most recently, he held Detroit to two earned runs (three total) in six innings.

Millwood is 2-6 with a 5.50 ERA lifetime against the Yankees. He faced them in back-to-back starts in June, and I'm still shaking my head over what happened (which could partly explain my sore neck.)

Both times, Millwood allowed six runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Both times, he surrendered two home runs.

Weird, right?

In the first start, he walked five and struck out six. In the other, he walked four and struck out five.

Close enough for weirdness.

We don't hear Millwood's name in the shutdown discussions. Those are reserved for the young guns. Millwood will close out the season and hit the free-agent market.

He'd obviously like to finish strong and rinse a little of the bad taste from his mouth. That 3-15 record is worse than any morning breath you've encountered.

Millwood has never beaten the Yankees outside the Bronx. Maybe it happens tonight.

Nothing would surprise me with the way things have changed around here.


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