Orioles begin road trip in unfamiliar territory

The Orioles finally made it to St. Louis.

The charter wasn’t delayed, as far as I know. I’m referring to how they haven’t traveled there since 2003 and are getting their first look at New Busch Stadium, which opened three years later.

Games in April 2020 were canceled due to the pandemic, which led to regional travel and a missed opportunity.

Better much later than never.

Manager Brandon Hyde has experienced plenty of baseball in St. Louis while a coach on the Cubs staff. He enjoys the atmosphere and has described it to his players.

Mike Hargrove was in the dugout for the June 6-8, 2003 series, when the Orioles lost two of three games. They dropped the finale 11-10 despite home runs from Deivi Cruz and Tony Batista – the latter off former Orioles reliever Esteban Yan.

Travis Driskill relieved Jason Johnson and allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings to take the loss.

The outfielders were Melvin Mora in left, Luis Matos in center and Jay Gibbons in right. Brook Fordyce was behind the plate. In case you were wondering.

Jorge Julio fumbled a lead in the eighth inning of the first game, which Rick Helling started. The Orioles won the following day 8-1, with Sidney Ponson throwing 122 pitches while going the distance and Cruz hitting two of the four home runs off Garrett Stephenson over 5 2/3 innings.

The Orioles wore the St. Louis Browns road uniform in their only win, a recreation of the 1944 World Series. Players hated it.

"I'm just happy I didn't have to go out onto the field in this uniform,” Hargrove said after Ponson’s complete-game victory. “That was my motivation."

Teammates mocked Ponson, with one veteran saying he looked like a bratwurst.

The Orioles are trying to go from wurst to first.

The teams met in Baltimore in 2017 and the Orioles won two of three games. They’re 5-7 all-time against the Cardinals, with just the one road trip before this week.

The Orioles have decided on two starters for the series, with Kyle Bradish and Spenser Watkins lined up for the first two games. Hyde hasn’t announced Thursday afternoon’s starter.

Hyde could go with a bullpen game, perhaps allowing new left-hander Logan Allen to cover some innings. Availability always is a factor. Usage over the first two games thins the herd.

“I think we’re seeing how the next couple of days go and then we’ll figure it out,” Hyde said yesterday. “Right now, we have no idea at this point. We’ll weigh some options here the next couple of days.”

The Cardinals are listing TBA, Miles Mikolas and Jordan Hicks.

The Orioles are 3-10 on the road. The Cardinals are 7-5 at home and 16-12 overall.

Down on the farm, left-hander DL Hall starts tonight for the Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park in his Triple-A debut. Pretty good chance that Adley Rutschman catches him.

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