The Orioles are back home tonight after playing 14 of their past 17 games on the road, and they're facing an opponent that doesn't normally make the trip to Baltimore.
The San Diego Padres have been to Camden Yards once before, and you have to go back to 2002, when the Orioles took two of three games. Melvin Mora had five RBIs in the series opener. The following night, Tony Bautista hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning.
The Orioles won two of three games in their first visit to San Diego in 2007. Sam Perlozzo had been fired as manager and Dave Trembley took over before the first game. I made that trip and marveled at the perfect weather. The Orioles also stopped in Arizona before returning home, and I marveled at how my plastic utensils melted after sitting in the sun for 20 seconds.
Plastic utensils isn't a euphemism. I ordered lunch outdoors.
Anyway, the Orioles extended their losing streak to nine straight games with a 12-6 loss to the Padres in the opener at Petco Park. Miguel Tejada was hit on the hand in the second game, an injury that ultimately ended his consecutive-games streak at 1,152.
The Orioles returned to San Diego in 2010 and lost two of three games. Julio Lugo's RBI single in the top of the ninth inning gave the Orioles the lead in the opener, but David Hernandez surrendered two in the bottom half. Kevin Milwood earned his first win as an Oriole in the second game.
And that, my friends, concludes our trip down memory lane. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed leading you down that path.
As for tonight's game, Chris Tillman will attempt to post his fifth consecutive quality start. He allowed three runs and five hits, including a pair of home runs, over six innings in his last start in Kansas City. He only struck out two and his velocity was down.
Tillman has faced only one Padre. Carlos Quentin is 2-for-5 with a double and RBI. Just don't hit him.
The Padres are sending Andrew Cashner to the mound for his fifth start this season. He hasn't pitched since May 6, when he shut out the Miami Marlins over 7 1/3 innings.
Cashner has faced one Oriole. Catcher Chris Snyder walked in his only plate appearance. He won't be in the lineup tonight.
San Diego had won six of seven game before being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
The Orioles will add two players to their roster this afternoon. They optioned reliever Mike Belfiore to Triple-A Norfolk yesterday and are expected to place Wei-Yin Chen on the 15-day disabled list today with a right oblique strain.
As I wrote yesterday, the Orioles could recall Steve Johnson and keep him in the bullpen before possibly giving him the start on Saturday against Tampa Bay. Or they could recall reliever Alex Burnett, who threw 16 pitches yesterday. Both pitchers were optioned over the weekend.
The Orioles may add a bench player as Belfiore's replacement, since they don't need five starters with another off-day approaching on Thursday. Executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated yesterday that it was a possibility.
Infielders Russ Canzler, Danny Valencia, Yamaico Navarro and Jonathan Schoop, and outfielder LJ Hoes, are on the 40-man roster, but that's not really a requirement for promotion. The Orioles can transfer second baseman Brian Roberts to the 60-day disabled list.
Canzler belted his sixth home run yesterday and is batting .284. He has an eight-game hitting streak. He's versatile and he made a nice impression on manager Buck Showalter in spring training.
Valencia went 2-for-5 with a double and is batting .308 with 14 doubles, seven homers and 29 RBIs. Navarro is batting .303. Hoes is batting .290 with 19 RBIs. Schoop, who didn't play yesterday, is batting .268. with three homers and 18 RBIs. He's hitting .330 with two homers and 17 RBIs in his last 23 games.
Non-roster first baseman Travis Ishikawa has been on fire. He's hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games, going 26-for-60 with three homers, 18 RBIs and 13 runs scored and raising his season average to .306.
Non-roster outfielder Jason Pridie is batting .318 with 13 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 25 RBIs.
Infielder Brandon Wood has played two games since the Orioles acquired him from Triple-A Omaha, going 2-for-9 with an RBI.
Note: According to a tweet yesterday from @WilmerReina, the Orioles were counted among the teams that watched Carlos Zambrano throw in Miami.
I ran Zambrano's name past one member of the organization last week, and he shot down the idea with both barrels. The main issues are Zambrano's behavior and baggage. Not a good makeup guy. But the Orioles are always in the market for pitching, and it doesn't hurt to send over a scout to check out a bullpen session.