NEW YORK - The Orioles will play under the lights tonight for the first time in six games.
Hopefully, they won’t be distracted by the moon. It’s been a while since they’ve seen it unless the curtains were open in their hotel rooms.
Fans keep asking why the Orioles would recall infielder Jemile Weeks from Triple-A Norfolk to replace outfielder David Lough, who’s apparently going on the disabled list. Well, Weeks has played the outfield and he also provides insurance in case shortstop J.J. Hardy remains unavailable.
Hardy hopes to be in the lineup tonight. The reports on him yesterday were encouraging. But just in case ...
The Orioles remain secretive regarding the pending roster move, refusing to confirm publicly that Weeks is in New York and Lough is injured. Lough fouled a ball off his foot during Monday’s game, but I’ve heard that isn’t the reason he’s going on the disabled list. It’s most likely related to the neck injury he sustained in spring training that led to dizziness and eye floaters.
We’ll get the exact reason later today.
The Orioles will miss Lough’s defense in left, but they’re fine with Nelson Cruz playing the outfield and Delmon Young or Steve Pearce serving as the designated hitter.
Hardy’s return to the lineup would lessen the sting of Lough’s absence.
No matter what happened yesterday with the bottom portion of the order, the Orioles most definitely miss third baseman Manny Machado batting second in their lineup. Showalter talks about Machado increasing his baseball activity and having another “step up” day, but the Orioles need him to be running sprints outdoors instead of jogging on a pool treadmill.
No rush, of course, but that would qualify as significant progress to me.
The Orioles still haven’t challenged a call in their first eight games. No replay requests coming from their dugout. But they’ve come close a few times.
Showalter has made a few slow trips onto the field in the last two days to question a call and give his people a chance to view the replay and let him know whether a challenge is warranted. It happened on Monday after Derek Jeter slid into second base with a double, and again yesterday after Steve Lombardozzi was picked off second base.
In both instances, Showalter was notified that umpires made the correct call.
“I’m trying to get to know my players and we’ve talked about what I’m looking for from them,” Showalter said. “Lombo was looking at me real hard (on Jeter’s double) and he’s probably not the type of guy who’s going to get into an umpire’s face, so you kind of get to know your players.
“I talk to them a lot about, you’ve got to let me know, because the worst seat in the house is in this dugout. You can’t see anything on this field. I didn’t want the play to start and then get a call, so as soon as I got out there, I got the knowledge that (umpire Will Little) did not miss it and I got off the field. Why would I stay out there any longer?”
Jacoby Ellsbury was thrown out by Matt Wieters on a stolen base attempt earlier in this series, but replays actually showed that he was safe. The Yankees didn’t challenge it.
Adam Jones received more attention yesterday for his comments regarding the two male fans who ran onto the field in the eighth inning, and how he’d like to inflict bodily harm on them. He’s made similar comments before and nobody should be shocked. But here’s a quote about the much-needed offensive uprising.
“It wasn’t about breaking out, man. It was about continuously doing what we do, swing the bats,” he said. “Some days you get them, some days you don’t. Today we got them. Now, it’s over with. Tomorrow we have to come out and do the same exact thing with the same approach.
“We’ve been swinging the bats good. It’s hitting the balls right at people. You guys want results. I got it. It’s all about results. We look at things a little bit differently. We’ve had good at-bats. That’s all we really ask out of everybody is have a good at-bat, go up there and compete. We know that you’re not guaranteed to get a hit, but you can go up there with a good approach, and the first eight games of the season, everybody’s went up there with a really good approach. We’re just getting pitches to hit.”
Is it easier to hit in warmer weather?
“It ain’t easy to hit, no matter what,” Jones replied. “There’s the misconception. It’s never easy to hit. I don’t know whoever said that, but you’ve got to go out and compete, man. There’s a guy on the mound who has to eat also and you’re going to be battling each other and playing chess. Today, we were able to get to the queen quicker.”
Jones sounded agitated by the panic that set in with some folks over a 2-5 start before yesterday’s win.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” he said. “The Yankees lost the first two games to the Astros. Are the Yankees done? You’ve got to be kidding? It’s a 162-game season, but that’s the media. That’s you guys’ job, to create a story when there really isn’t a story, just to have a story. We don’t buy into it as players. It’s kind of just go with the flow and understand that this game is long and the game’s hard, and look at the results.”
For the record, we’re not creating stories out of nothing in the press box. If the Orioles pitch or hit well, it’s reported. If they don’t, it’s reported. Just saying...
Jones likes this team no matter the early results, just as he should.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’ve liked this team for a long time. It’s like how this clubhouse is every day. We’re laughing and enjoying ourselves.”
Young still has a knack for producing in the second slot in the order, but he wasn’t making a big deal out of it yesterday after collecting three hits and his first home run.
“I don’t look at it like that because wherever you’re hitting in the lineup, the pitcher isn’t looking at that,” Young said. “They’re trying to get you out. I’m not like, ‘I’m in the two hole. I need to do this, this and that.’ I’m still trying to hit the bejeezus out of the ball.”
And that, my friends, is the first time I’ve written the word “bejeezus” in this blog. I had to check the spelling.
From Orioles PR whiz Jay Moskowitz: The Orioles collected 20 hits yesterday. They haven’t registered 21 or more (22) since Aug. 17, 2008, 23 or more (23) since Sept. 28, 2000, 24 or more (25) since June 13, 1999 and 26 or more (26) since Aug. 28, 1980, which is a club record.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Suk-min Yoon struggled mightily in his North American debut last night, yielding nine runs and 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings.