After a long, hard road trip, a long homestand looks inviting. Yet, for the Orioles, the comfort of home has been a little deceiving.
The Orioles are a solid 20-23 away, but just 25-23 at Camden Yards after last night's win against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"I have no idea why we do that," said first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. "I thought that we would be a lot better at home. You want to play at least .500 on the road and .600 or better at home. We haven't done that."
Injuries have played a large part. Third baseman Leo Gomez was lost with a sprained right ankle last Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. He joined pitchers Ben McDonald, Gene Harris and Kevin Brown, catcher Chris Hoiles, third baseman Jeff Manto and former Oriole Sid Fernandez as players who were either injured or were placed on the disabled list during a homestand.
Manager Phil Regan says the current homestand (in which the Orioles are 6-6) can be attributed to three poor innings.
Against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles lost two games in which they blew up in a late inning. On Tuesday, they gave up six runs in the ninth inning, erasing a 10-6 lead en route to a 12-10 loss. In Thursday's 8-2 loss, it was six runs allowed in the 10th inning.
Then on Friday against Milwaukee, the Orioles gave up eight runs in the fourth inning and lost, 12-4.
"I would've liked this homestand to have been better," Regan said before last night's game. "Basically, we've had three bad innings. Sometimes, when you give up three bad innings, you look bad. You have to look at some things. The things you don't count on are injuries. Maybe if we had our whole team out there we'd be all right."
Manto says maybe the pressure of doing well at home has affected some Orioles.
"You definitely don't want that record at home," Manto said. "With any team, you want to have an overwhelmingly better record at home. I think a lot of guys have tried so hard to impress these fans that sometimes they come into a game and don't play like themselves. You come home and you have fan support and you are more relaxed at home. For us not to be playing well at home is disappointing."
Said pitcher Jesse Orosco: "Anywhere in baseball, if you are not winning at home, fans are not going to be happy. But we have great fans. I feel comfortable at home. Of course, I want to do well in front of the fans and the team. I believe that we can play better at home. We have just had a real bad week. We've played bad for the last eight or 10 days. We haven't taken advantage of this homestand."
Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks says he agrees with Regan and Orosco.
"We really have been playing well since the All-Star break," Hendricks said. "There have just been three bad innings at home this week. Other than that, you have ups and downs and, unfortunately, they happen at home. We've made an awful lot of changes. When you make a lot of changes, there are going to be hot and cold spells. We have a lot of talent around, but we haven't been able to put that talent together consistently.
"When you have the fan support we have, it should be easier to play at home. The way that fans are in other cities, they are demanding. Here, they are true fans."
Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers
Site: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Brewers' Brian Givens (2-2, 4.96) vs. Orioles' Kevin Brown (5-6, 4.12)
Tickets: 1,600 remain, all singles
LATE ORIOLES GAME
Last night's Orioles-Brewers game at Camden Yards did not end in time to be included in this edition. A complete report can be found in later editions. For a report on last night's game and other Orioles information, call Sundial at (410) 783-1800, ext. 5023 (in Anne Arundel County, call  268-7736, ext. 5023).