TAMPA - I'm filing this morning's blog entry from the Tampa Airport Marriott before boarding my flight home. It's a tradition of sorts. Turn in the rental car the previous night, check into a room, get a few hours sleep and stumble to my gate.
Showering is optional. It's one way to make certain that the middle seat remains unoccupied.
Manager Buck Showalter kept wondering why last night's game wasn't played in the daytime, since the Orioles would be traveling after the final out. It's an excellent question.
The 2014 schedule hasn't been about convenience.
The three-game series provided conflicting emotions. The Orioles swept the Rays. They also received quite a scare with Matt Wieters, who had his right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews amid false rumors that he had a torn ligament and would need surgery.
Wieters remained on the active roster. The Orioles remained in first place. And now, we're told that Chris Davis could begin his injury rehab assignment as early as Saturday.
And you were worried!
Darren O'Day was 0-for-3 in save chances against the Rays before last night's game.
The Orioles are 5-0 versus the Rays this season after losing 11 of the last 13 games in 2013. The all-time series is tied 141-141.
"It's a good ballclub, a good division game," said Steve Pearce. "We took care of business and now we have to look forward to Houston."
Former Oriole Scott Feldman pays a visit to Camden Yards tonight. He's 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts for the Astros, with five earned runs and 16 hits in 26 2/3 innings. He's walked nine and struck out nine, which strikes me as odd.
Feldman hasn't allowed a home run. Also odd.
Showalter wanted to keep Feldman, but the Orioles weren't willing to give him $30 million over three years. How many teams were willing to do it?
Feldman is 7-4 with a 4.70 ERA in 16 games (12 starts) at Camden Yards, and 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 games (six starts) versus the Orioles.
Wieters is 3-for-10 against Feldman. He's most likely going to be the designated hitter again tonight, with Steve Clevenger behind the plate.
Caleb Joseph hasn't moved past Clevenger, as a lot of fans were speculating. The Rays started two left-handers and Showalter was going with matchups. Feldman is a right-hander, so Clevenger gets the call.
Nick Markakis is 6-for-21 with three doubles against Feldman. Adam Jones is only 1-for-15.
With Wieters handling DH duties and taking ground balls at first base, Davis nearing a return and Showalter trying to figure out ways to get Delmon Young in the lineup, there's really no reason to keep bringing up Kendrys Morales' name.
Not that I was searching for reasons.
See you in Baltimore.