Safety comes first.
Before a winning series, before the standings, before anything relating to balls and strikes.
The Orioles were stuck in their hotel in Miami yesterday unsure whether they’d play the following night or receive clearance to fly back to Baltimore. Less than a week into a truncated season that offers little flexibility, they had gone from summer training camp to the danger zone.
The team boarded a charter flight last night and left the state of Florida, one of the pandemic hot spots. They’ve been sticklers about following the protocols set up to reduce the chances of a positive test for COVID-19, but an outbreak has been feared since Major League Baseball decided to play.
The Marlins are the first team to get hit.
It’s understandable if a lot of people are wondering who’s next.
Meanwhile, the silence from the commissioner’s office was deafening for most of the day.
Did the fumigation of the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park leave Rob Manfred holding his breath, or was that done for another reason?
Manfred finally spoke last night on MLB Network, where he confirmed the postponement of tonight’s game. Guess he had to make it an event.
The Orioles aren’t required to be quarantined. Otherwise, they’d still be in Miami. They were tested Sunday and again yesterday. But if the 2020 season already felt abnormal and fraught with risks, imagine what’s going through their minds now and how their families are reacting to it.
No one has opted out, but everything is subject to change this summer. Check out what happened yesterday with Rockies reliever Tim Collins.
Pitching seemed like a good idea until it didn’t.
The Orioles could have been the visitors at their own ballpark tonight if the Marlins were cleared to take a bus from Philadelphia to Baltimore and load up their roster with players from their alternate camp site.
The one in Jupiter, which also is in the state of Florida.
(Would the Orioles still be allowed to carry a taxi squad since it’s technically a road game?)
The paranoia over positive tests is going to be heightened by the possible arrival Wednesday of a team that just had a major outbreak. But hey, make yourselves right at home. And don’t forget to stop by one of the hand-sanitizing stations.
MLB didn’t wait for the Marlins’ test results to bang tonight’s game. The Orioles spent the day wondering what was happening and couldn’t pass along updates beyond their escape.
As for the actual baseball, the Orioles woke up yesterday morning in a three-way tie for first place in the American League East. They’re above .500 on July 28 for the first time since 2016.
Don’t overthink it.
The Red Sox’s pitching is a mess, but credit goes to the Orioles for the strong bounceback after their 13-2 loss on opening day. Scoring early via a small-ball approach and the occasional home run.
Starters who worked into the sixth, a bullpen that didn’t crack. No walks issued over the past two games.
“I think we have a lot of room to improve still, and we’re a very growing, developing team,” reliever Evan Phillips said prior to Saturday’s win. “Nights like last night, that’s baseball, that’s going to happen and I don’t think that’s something we’re going to see on a regular basis.
“We talked to the guys in the clubhouse. Everyone is really determined to work hard and have an improved season, so I think as long as everyone stays level-headed and we continue to grind every single day like we have been, we’ll be fine.”
Manager Brandon Hyde could tweak his rotation based on the postponements. Asher Wojciechowski was supposed to start last night and Kohl Stewart tonight, followed by Tommy Milone and John Means - assuming he’s ready to come off the injured list - for the two games against the Marlins in Baltimore.
Further down the road is a weekend series against the Rays, whose probables are Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos.