Even the best of us needs a bit of time off, and I suppose I’m no exception. Tomorrow evening I’ll be taking off for Europe, as I’ll be spending two weeks at my parents’ house in Italy. First off for those who follow my twitter feed during Baltimore Orioles games, you can still follow my in-game updates during tonight’s game at the Chicago White Sox. However moving forward, I’ll no longer be live-tweeting games until after the all-star break. I’ll still be on twitter, just not as often and so forth. I’ll also continue daily game recaps as always during the duration of the time between tomorrow and July 17th.
With that said, keep in mind that Italy is six hours ahead of US East Coast time, so some of the columns will be coming out at strange times. Our roster of writers will still be posting their normal columns, as will I. Nevertheless, this may well be a bad time for me to leave given where the Orioles are in the season and in the standings, however Europe beckons me…! You can also continue to read my weekly guest column on masnsports.com, which I will submit from there as well. So which is more important?…eating pasta, seafood, etc. on the shores of the Mediterranean, or Orioles baseball?! Tough decision for sure. We’ll all make due one way or the other. There will be a few days here and there where I’m unable to post due to varying reasons, so please just bear with us! I’ll return on the afternoon of July 17th, at which point all will return to normal.
The Orioles open up a three-game series in Chicago tonight, with Jason Hammel going up against John Danks. The ChiSox have lost five straight games, including being swept this weekend by Cleveland at home. They’ll be hungry for sure, however the Orioles will try to extend their losing streak to at least six. Please note that tonight’s game is at 8 PM, tomorrow’s game is at 7:10 PM, and Thursday’s game at 2 PM (for the fourth of July). The Orioles will presumably make a roster move before tonight’s game, as they’re expected to recall Nolan Reimold back from injury. My personal opinion is that Danny Valencia will end up the odd man out, even though he’s performed well for the Birds. However they ultimately need the roster spot, and I think that Valencia will probably benefit from playing more frequently at Norfolk as opposed to being a pinch hit option for the most part in Baltimore. But time will tell.
Update (1:45 PM) - The Orioles have traded Norfolk Tides starter Jake Arrieta to the Chicago Cubs along with reliever Pedro Strop (plus international signing money). In return, the Cubs have sent back starting pitcher Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. Feldman is 7-6 on the year with a 3.46 ERA. Clevenger, although a catcher by trait, can also play first and third, as well as pinch hit. With only nine plate appearances this year at the big league level he’s only hitting .125. I would assume that the O’s will assign him to a minor league affiliate.
Feldman was obviously the centerpiece of this trade from the Orioles’ standpoint, and it’ll be interesting to see if he immediately is thrust into the starting rotation. He was actually scheduled to start tonight’s game at Oakland for the Cubs, and will now return to Chicago (of all places) to join the Orioles in their series against the ChiSox. If he is thrust into the rotation as a starter immediately, I would assume that either Kevin Gausman or Zach Britton would be ticketed once again for triple-A. But all of that remains to be seen.
Arrieta is a classic “change of scenery” guy, who might well benefit from going to another organization. It’s unclear if the Cubs are looking to start him, however he’s now a part of their organization. Going back to Feldman for a moment, the O’s also now have a spot on the 25-man roster for a pitcher (so in theory Gausman and Britton could stay) since Strop is included in the deal as well.