KANSAS CITY - The sun is shining today and there isn’t a hint of rain in the forecast. Game 3 of the American League Championship Series will be played without interruption.
Just don’t mind the wind.
I went to bed in Missouri and woke up in Kansas. I’m talking heavy, blustery winds. The kind that violently shake flag poles, as I’ve witnessed, and turn every fly ball and pop-up into an adventure.
But it’s not raining.
Following the Orioles’ Game 2 loss at home to the Royals, I approached vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson in the clubhouse and asked what kind of advice he’d offer his club.
“Just to keep perspective,” he replied. “It’s not that big of a deal to lose two games in a row. Obviously, you’ve got to win two out of three to come back here. Again, two-game losing streaks happen during the season all the time. Obviously, you’re in a hole, you realize that, but it’s no time to be down. It’s really not.”
The Royals have been good and they’ve been lucky. That’s a tough combination.
“They’re good defenders,” Anderson said. “They’ve got some guys in the lineup who are hot right now. They’ve got (Eric) Hosmer and (Mike) Moustakas hot at the same time. So they’re pretty balanced. Even though they’re not a power-hitting team, they have some power hitters in their lineup.
“As far as the playoffs go, they have been hitting with the highest slugging average, so right now they are a power-hitting team as well as a base stealing team and a great defensive team. I think their pitching and their bullpen in particular, their success is well-documented, so that’s no surprise. We’ve actually had some really good at-bats against their relievers, which is encouraging.”
The Orioles have been victimized by the longball, but also swinging bunts, infield choppers and bloop hits.
“It’s always like that when you lose,” Anderson said. “You can look back on (Friday’s) three-run blooper down the right field line. A ball in the lights. Again, in a short series, plays like that really show up. Everything’s meaningful. That’s the beauty of the playoffs. Every single play, ever single at-bat usually counts.
“Two close games and I expect more in the next three days.”
Baseball American released its Top 20 Prospects in the Eastern League and the Orioles were shut out. However, one of their former farmhands is ranked No. 7 - left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who was traded to the Red Sox for reliever Andrew Miller.
Rodriguez, 21, went 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA in 16 starts with Double-A Bowie and 3-1, 0.96 ERA in six starts with Portland.
The Orioles have no regrets at this point. Scouts noted that Rodriguez seemed to regress this summer. The major league club added the top reliever on the market at the non-waiver trade deadline.
Miller has allowed one hit, walked one and struck out seven in 6 1/3 scoreless playoff innings. He gave up three runs and eight hits in 20 innings over 23 appearances following the trade, with four walks and 34 strikeouts.
You can’t fully judge a trade until years later, but the Orioles don’t care about prospect rankings. They got the guy they wanted and he’s delivered for them.