The Orioles could have used a rainout last night. A heavy, heavy downpour - like the kind you normally find inside the Rogers Centre dome. Animals paired off. That sort of thing.
They played nine uninterrupted innings despite the ominous forecast, which never seems to be accurate, and lost their starting right fielder and leadoff hitter to a broken thumb. A split doubleheader today would have been a blessing by comparison. Sharing the parking lots with tailgating Ravens fans on Monday would have been a joy.
Instead, they need to move forward without Nick Markakis, need to prevent a broken bone from fracturing their playoff aspirations.
Nate McLouth could bat leadoff in Markakis’ absence. He’s played most of his major league games (286) and has most of his at-bats (1,141) atop the order, batting .253/.340/.443 with 86 doubles, four triples, 41 homers and 126 RBIs.
McLouth has played 73 games in right field. He pinch-ran for Markakis last night and went to left field, with Lew Ford shifting to right. Not sure if that’s an indication that manager Buck Showalter prefers McLouth in left.
Xavier Avery could pry himself off the bench and get some starts. Chris Davis could return to right field, where he played while Markakis was on the disabled list after undergoing surgery to remove a piece of broken hamate bone, and Wilson Betemit could be the designated hitter against right-handed pitching. Maybe the Orioles purchase LJ Hoe’s contract. Maybe they select Endy Chavez’s contract. Maybe they trade for Steve Pearce and start that circle all over again.
Just don’t suggest that they’re sunk without Markakis. They don’t want to hear it.
By the way, Mark Teixeira was safe at first base and it wasn’t close. Umpire Jerry Meals blew it. I’ve seen the still shot and Teixeira’s hand hits the bag while J.J. Hardy is removing the ball from his glove.
OK, it’s closer than that, but you get the point.
The Yankees are livid, of course. And now they know how the other half fumes. They’ve been living off bad calls for years.
Now that the Yankees have been impacted, you know that every single call will be reviewable beginning next season - or the final game of this series, depending on how quickly Major League Baseball reacts to their outrage
One more thing: CC Sabathia wasn’t trying to hit Markakis. Catcher Russell Martin didn’t put down one thumb when giving the signs. The ball got away from Sabathia. He’s losing velocity and, if you ask any of the New York writers, he isn’t healthy. He isn’t the same pitcher who’s dominated the Orioles.
I don’t anticipate that the Orioles will retaliate this afternoon, though pitchers might line up to take aim at Nick Swisher - during the pregame stretch.
According to reports, Yankees manager Joe Girardi began screaming at New York Post columnist Joel Sherman after last night’s game, and security had to separate them. Girardi apparently grew tired of all the questions regarding Sabathia’s health. The blown call didn’t help his mood.
Yeah, a rainout might have been a good idea.