About last night and today ...

NEW YORK - A loss like the one that the Orioles experienced last night should be dissected and discarded. It's over and done. We've picked it apart - the drop, the triple play, the walks. Now it should be buried before it stinks up the joint.

But first...

I'm going to repeat that Adam Jones didn't commit the three-run error because of a bubble. My head explodes with more force than his gum whenever it's suggested as a reason.

It always looks bad when a misplay occurs while a bubble is being blown. As manager Buck Showalter says, I get that. For that reason alone, I'd lose the gum. But that's not why Vernon Wells' fly ball ended up on the ground, so can we please retire that accusation once and for all?

Give it a gold watch and a free dinner, invite friends to stand up and say a few words about it, wish it the best and just retire it.

He wasn't busy concentrating on his bubble. It didn't obstruct his vision. It has nothing to do with the drop. Zilch.

The walks and hit batters were huge components of that loss. Make a team earn its way on the bases. And you'd be surprised how much easier it is to keep pitch counts down when you're not going to full counts on every hitter.

Maybe it would be easier to find the strike zone without losing feeling in all four fingers and a thumb. It was stupid cold last night, in case I failed to mention it.

Anyway, the loss should be buried. Who's got the shovel?

The Orioles may have caught a break in this series, with Andy Pettitte being skipped because of back spasms. He's 27-6 against the Orioles.

Phil Hughes is starting today, and he's 6-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Orioles, who are hitting .292 against him. He's allowed 93 hits in 77 2/3 innings.

That sounds like a decent trade for the Orioles.

Nate McLouth will be back in the lineup this afternoon, batting leadoff and playing left field. Maybe he can hit a ball down the right field line that lands inside the foul pole - in the opinion of the first base umpire.

McLouth is 6-for-8 with three doubles against Hughes. Jones, who desperately wants to atone for last night's error, is only 7-for-37 against Hughes, but he has two doubles, two homers and six RBIs.

The Orioles may go the entire day without claiming a pitcher off waivers, but I'll keep checking Twitter, just in case. They're still trying to acquire a catcher to improve their depth in the minors - someone who could come up if Matt Wieters or Taylor Teagarden is injured. They're just not comfortable with the current options.

I'll close this entry by wishing my mom a very happy birthday. I would love to be in Ocean Pines today to give her a big hug and let her overfeed me. In other words, a typical Saturday.

Each time I see a replay of Cal Ripken Jr. catching Garry Maddox's line drive to end the 1983 World Series, I still hear my mom yell, "We did it!" as I sat on our living room floor. And it always makes me smile.

She has a knack of doing that with everyone in our family. The most loving, caring, wonderful woman you'd ever meet. And she worries about me on every road trip, so please let her know that I'm OK. She doesn't always believe me.

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