NEW YORK - For whatever reason, the Orioles are playing a 1:05 p.m. game in the middle of the week. Had I planned it better, I would have taken the train back home tonight, spent the off day there and flown to Tampa on Friday.
But enough about me. How about those Orioles?
They've won three games in a row, and this is the first time they've won consecutive series in the Bronx in the same season since 2007.
Today, they go for the sweep.
"Any game you play that's with a division rival, you want to win if you're at their place," said Chris Davis. "We were actually talking about it on the bench. We seem to buckle down when we play here and we play in Boston. If we can just start doing that every game and focusing in, hopefully not giving up five runs at the beginning of every game, we have the ability to go out there and put up a lot of runs."
Yeah, how about this offense? The Orioles have scored five runs or more in five of their last six games, and six runs or more in four of six. The team batting average is up to .243.
Still think the Orioles need a bat?
They lost one yesterday when Jim Thome went on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his neck. We don't know whether it's the same condition that led Nolan Reimold to undergo surgery, but just hearing that Thome will have an epidural brought back memories of it.
So much for a roster crunch. Thome vacated it just as Robert Andino was ready to be activated. And Brian Roberts' decision to undergo hip surgery eliminated questions about what the Orioles would do with Andino, Omar Quintanilla and Ryan Flaherty.
The rotation stays the same, with the order unchanged despite the break on Thursday. Tommy Hunter, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez will start at Tropicana Field with an extra day of rest.
Zach Britton takes the ball today, and he'll try to beat down his Bronx demons. He's got a 16.88 ERA here, with 13 runs (10 earned) and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings over two starts.
I'll pass along the lineup as soon as it's available. Taylor Teagarden figures to be behind the plate with an early game today. Manager Buck Showalter indicated that Andino would make a few starts against the Rays this weekend, but what about today?
Andino is 2-for-5 with double against Phil Hughes. Small sample size.
Adam Jones is 4-for-25 (.160) with two doubles and a home run. Nick Markakis, the leadoff hitter extraordinaire, is 11-for-32 (.344) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs.