Make no mistake about the fact that if the Baltimore Orioles look at the coming stretch of schedule in the manner in which I’ve described it in the title, they’re going to lose their next eight games. Under no circumstances can you ever take anybody lightly when playing a sport at any level, lest you’re prepared to get yourself beaten. However the fact is that the next eleven games provide the Orioles with three different sub-.500 opponents. Tonight the Birds open up a three-game series with the Houston Astros, this weekend the Seattle Mariners come to town for three games, and on Tuesday the O’s will head to San Diego for a brief two-game set with the San Diego Padres, before a three-game series in San Francisco.
Again, you can’t take anyone lightly (least of all the defending world series champions). Furthermore, the Orioles have struggled against sub-.500 opponents this year (see last week’s series in Kansas City). However if the records mean anything (and they don’t), this is an opportunity for the Birds to indirectly make up for this past weekend’s series against Boston. (Speaking of which, the BoSox also play Seattle this week.) If the O’s can take at least two-of-three in each series (perhaps splitting the San Diego series), things will look a lot different than they did in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s loss to Boston. Obviously the big white elephant in the room remains tomorrow’s trade deadline (4 PM), so we don’t know at this point what the Orioles will look like after that time.
Interestingly, tonight’s Houston starter (Bud Norris) is a guy in whom the Birds have expressed interest over the course of the past month. Might we see one of those bizarre sequences where a player switches club houses? On a side note, trades can bring us really strange scenarios at times. There are been situations where that’s in effect happened, most recently last season when Seattle traded Ichiro Suzuki to New York while the Yankees were playing them at Safeco Field. Perhaps my favorite trade story is that of Joel Youngblood, who was traded from the Mets to the Montreal Expos in August of 1982. Youngblood hit a two-RBI single in an afternoon game at Wrigley Field against Chicago for New York before being lifted in the third inning. He was promptly told he had been traded to Montreal, and left the ballpark immediately to fly to Philadelphia where the Expos were playing the Phillies. He arrived in time to hit a seventh inning single for Montreal, making him the only player in big league history to get two hits in two different cities for two different teams on the same day.
I would suspect that Norris won’t be coming to the Orioles so long as Jake Peavy is still with the ChiSox. If the O’s are unable to land him today, then they might look to options like Norris. The prevailing thought is that Peavy will get traded sometime before the beginning of play tonight, as he’s scheduled to start for the ChiSox in Cleveland. Granted the deadline is tomorrow, however it would behoove Chicago to move him prior to making his start so that in theory he could start at will for his new team. The Orioles will start Wei-Yin Chen opposite of Norris tonight…as of right now.
Update: Houston has scratched Bud Norris from his scheduled start tonight, and the speculation is that he’s about to be traded. Some national writers are saying that Pittsburgh is a possible landing spot, however over time the Orioles had been rumored to be interested in Norris as well. We’ll find out at some point once whatever deal the Astros are working on becomes official. Lucas Harrell will take Norris’ spot in the rotation against the O’s tonight.