It's been a while, but the Orioles have found their way back to Camden Yards after an eight-game road trip. And as usual, I'll set my GPS because I've totally forgotten how to get there.
It's somewhere downtown, right?
Wei-Yin Chen opposes Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson tonight, as the Orioles' rotation tries to churn out its seventh consecutive quality start.
Chen is 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA and five quality starts in nine outings at home. In his only career start against the Rays, back on June 1 in St. Petersburg, he was charged with the loss after allowing five earned runs and walking four batters in 5 2/3 innings.
If you'll recall, Chen threw 36 pitches in the first and served up a two-run homer to Hideki Matsui, but he faced only one batter over the minimum after that inning.
Hellickson has a career 2.36 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) against the Orioles. The right-hander won his first four decisions this year and has lost his last six. He's searching for his first victory since May 16.
In one of those losses, he held the Orioles to one earned run in 6 2/3 innings - yet another example of how a pitcher's record can be so deceiving.
Adam Jones is 6-for-19 with a double and two home runs against Hellickson.
We're one week away from the non-waiver trade deadline, and I certainly expect the Orioles to make at least one more trade. It won't involve Chen or Jones, so don't look for a smooth transition here. I'm jumping topics like Carl Lewis.
We've concentrated so much on players who could be added, perhaps we should shift our focus to which ones could be subtracted.
For the purposes of this entry, I'm thinking more along the lines of who could be squeezed off the roster rather than be packaged in a deal.
I'm curious about Mark Reynolds and how the addition of another bat could impact him.
Reynolds didn't play last night, so he's still hitting .209/.328/.378 with 15 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs in 71 games. He went 7-for-27 with two doubles, a home run, eight RBis and three runs scored on the trip.
Reynolds has been solid defensively at first base. He appears to be an upgrade over Chris Davis, who had been playing regularly in the outfield until last night.
The issue here, of course, is the Orioles already have plenty of corner infield/DH types on the roster. A few of them - Davis and Wilson Betemit - also can play left and right field. If executive vice president Dan Duquette brings in another player with a similar skill set - and it won't be third baseman Chase Headley unless the Padres lower their asking price - what happens to Reynolds?
The answer could be "nothing," but he's not on his usual 30-plus home run pace and the Orioles aren't likely to pick up his $11 million option for next season. Would they dare swallow the remainder of the $7.5 million that he's being paid this year?
If a left fielder is added, Davis could get a lot more starts at first base, further reducing Reynolds' at-bats. It's not like manager Buck Showalter can rotate players in the DH spot anymore.
The Orioles signed Betemit to a two-year deal with a vesting option. He's emerged as the regular third baseman. They like his versatility. He's not going anywhere.
Is Reynolds? Stay tuned.