The Oakland Athletics are here for a three-game series that begins tonight, and Jake Arrieta gets first crack at them.
Arrieta has made one career start against Oakland, taking the loss after allowing three earned runs (four total) and six hits in seven innings.
Oakland's Brandon McCarthy is winless in three decisions this year despite a 3.38 ERA. He's 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in seven career appearances (five starts) against the Orioles, with 36 hits, 14 walks and 16 strikeouts in 29 innings. He's got a 1.72 WHIP and the Orioles are batting .313 against him.
Adam Jones is 3-for-8 with a double and two RBIs off McCarthy.
Jones and Matt Wieters are tied for the club's home run lead, with Jones pulling even last night and providing the winning run in the eighth inning. Five of Jones' six homers this season have tied the game or put the Orioles ahead.
Former Orioles reliever Jim Miller is back in town. He got the win two nights ago in his first game with the A's. Good guy.
Robert Andino is expected back at second base for tonight's game after returning from paternity leave. His flight was due to land at 9:30 a.m.
A roster move is pending, and if the Orioles had to make the decision yesterday, reliever Jason Berken was headed back to Triple-A Norfolk. A pitcher likely would have to go on the disabled list today for Berken to avoid being optioned.
The Orioles will check on closer Jim Johnson, who could be released from the hospital this morning. They'll have to determine when he'd be ready to pitch. A move to the DL could be backdated to April 23.
I'll repeat that Kevin Gregg being placed on the DL wouldn't come as a shock to me. He hasn't pitched since April 18 in Chicago. He'd be eligible to return on May 4.
Just throwing it out there. And that's more throwing than Gregg has done lately. When is the last time he's warmed up?
If Gregg stays on the active roster, he'll need to be oiled like the Tin Man to avoid rusting.
Who's been booed louder, Gregg or Nick Johnson?
I know who's been booed the most lately.
The last time that the Orioles won 12 of their first 19 games was 2005. The years run together, but I'm pretty sure Lee Mazzilli was manager, the club was 42-30 and spent 62 days in first place, Rafael Palmeiro failed a drug test, the losses piled up, Mazzilli was fired ...
One of my favorite moments from last night: Nolan Reimold appearing to call off Jones on a fly ball near the warning track in left. Jones wasn't anywhere near it, but they almost collided on a shot in the gap from the previous batter, with Reimold making the catch as Jones veered behind him at the last instant.
Reimold and Jones shared a laugh after Reimold made the second catch. Reimold waved his arms and pointed up at the ball before it settled in his glove.
Nick Markakis singled off Jays rookie Drew Hutchison one pitch after plate umpire Tony Randazzo called a strike on a pitch that clearly missed the strike zone.
Maybe that's the key. Get Markakis good and angry.
Showalter likes using the shift. He did it against Curtis Granderson and Albert Pujols during the first homestand, to name two, and second baseman Ryan Flaherty moved past the bag last night to give the Orioles three infielders on the left side against Jose Bautista. In the ninth inning, Flaherty played shallow right field and shortstop J.J. Hardy moved around the bag against Adam Lind.
I'm becoming a big Darren O'Day fan. In his last seven appearances, he's allowed no runs and three hits and walked none over 8 2/3 innings. He's sort of a sixth- and seventh-inning guy, though roles aren't clearly defined. We've seen relievers pitch the seventh, then become eighth-inning set-up men, then become closers.
By the way, if you really want to get under Showalter's skin as a pitcher, walk into his office and ask about your role. His eyes will widen and he'll remind you that you're one of 25 guys, and one of 12 on the pitching staff, and the team needs outs everywhere in a game.
Not much to update on the Dontrelle Willis situation. He's still home and the Orioles still want him pitching at Norfolk.
Willis made it clear that he wants to start, and executive vice president Dan Duquette offered to have him build up his arm by backing up Tides starters.
It's not like Willis could jump into a rotation right now and give a team innings. He'd have to be stretched out gradually, which could be done in the bullpen.
Willis filed a grievance against the Orioles, who haven't closed the door on his return.
So who leaves the Norfolk rotation to make room for Joel Pineiro?