Explaining the Orioles this year is easier than it was last season, when nobody quite understood how a team could go from 107 losses to second place.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why they are wallowing near the bottom of the standings. There is a very academic reason -- they can't beat the teams within their own division.
As a matter of fact, there is a distinct possibility they will conclude the year without a winning record against any Eastern Division team. If the Tigers win at Memorial Stadium either tonight (7:35, WBAL, HTS) or tomorrow night (same time, same stations) they will win the season series against the Orioles.
That would leave only the New York Yankees (against whom they are 5-5) as the only AL East team without a winning record against the Orioles. And the last three games of that series will be played in Yankee Stadium in two weeks.
Overall the Orioles' record against the AL East (21-35) is the worst in the league. The fact that their last 21 games are against the six divisional opponents does not offer much hope for a strong finish.
Tonight Dave Johnson (11-8, 4.39) makes his first start in four weeks and second appearance since coming off the disabled list a week ago. Despite his absence the righthander is still the Orioles' top winner.
Steve Searcy (1-5, 6.10) will pitch for the Tigers tonight, with the best pitching matchup of the series slated for tomorrow night's season finale for these two teams. Ben McDonald (6-4, 2.71) will pitch for the Orioles against Jack Morris (11-17, 5.04), who has been the workhorse of the Detroit staff for the last decade.