Right where they left off

May 04, 2008|By DAN CONNOLLY

Observations, opinions and musings from the week in major league baseball:

When Monday's 3-3 tie between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox was suspended because of rain after the 11th inning, several interesting questions arose.

And so did some ludicrous ones.

Here are answers to them all.

First, the game will resume in the 12th inning Aug. 25 at 6:05 p.m. That's an hour before the Orioles host the White Sox in a regularly scheduled contest.

Since the Orioles don't revisit U.S. Cellular Field this season, the game finishes at Camden Yards with the White Sox as the home team.

That means the Orioles will bat first in the 12th, and the White Sox will get last ups. However, according to Orioles manager Dave Trembley, that does not mean the Orioles will switch dugouts. They'll stay in the home dugout on the third base side.

There also will not be a costume change between games, Trembley said. The Orioles will wear home uniforms for both contests.

Several lineup decisions are in limbo because if a player was taken out Monday, he can't be used in the resumed game.

Therefore, Trembley's only bench player is infielder Eider Torres. And the shortstop at the end of the game, Brandon Fahey, is in the minors. So is Greg Aquino, one of only three relievers eligible. The others are Randor Bierd, who is on the disabled list, and Matt Albers, who is temporarily in the rotation.

However, if there are Orioles on the 25-man roster in August who weren't in April - and there certainly will be - they'll be eligible to play in the suspended game.

Another complication is that designated hitter Aubrey Huff was ejected in the 10th and Trembley never officially replaced him. So Torres, if he is still with the club, could play shortstop for Fahey (Luis Hernandez is out of the game), but then the Orioles would have to find another DH.

Confused yet? Well consider this: If Huff is traded to the White Sox and is on their active roster in August, he still wouldn't be able to play in this game because he was already ejected.

Furthermore, any player who might be traded from the Orioles to the White Sox, or vice versa, and who was on the 25-man roster at the time of the suspended game would not be able to play for the other side. The reason is if the player is traded, then technically he must be taken out of the game by the team that traded him.

Danger of young starters

The Orioles have seen the joys and pratfalls of having several young starters in their rotation. The raw talent versus the inconsistency, brutally short outings and high risk for injury.

Now the big-buck New York Yankees are feeling the Orioles' pain. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made the conscious choice this offseason to go with a couple of young starters instead of acquiring expensive veterans through trades and free agency.

So far this season, the Yankees have had to put Phil Hughes, 21, on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his rib cage that will likely sideline him until July. And fellow youngster Ian Kennedy, 23, is 0-2 with a 8.37 ERA in six games.

Note to Cashman: Young pitching is baseball's biggest uncertainty. Having it is great, but counting too much on it can be disastrous, especially for a team with high expectations.

One-run fun

Last year's Orioles are in jeopardy of dropping out of the top five in a dubious category: worst single-season winning percentage in one-run games since divisional play began in 1969. The 2007 Orioles are fifth worst with a .295 winning percentage (13-31). The 1999 Kansas City Royals (.256, 11-32) are the most putrid.

But this year's Atlanta Braves are making some serious noise. They have lost their first nine one-run games, putting them on a pace to shatter the record.

By the way, which team since 1969 had the best winning percentage in one-run games? That's right, Orioles fans. The incomparable 1970 Orioles were an incredible 40-15 (.727 winning percentage) in one-run games.

And, make of this what you will, but the Orioles' record this season in one-run games is 8-2.

Everyone's a critic

It has been a tough start for the Toronto Blue Jays and manager John Gibbons, who is getting no slack no matter where he goes. He visited his 96-year-old grandmother last week, and he recounted this conversation.

"She asked me, `What's wrong with your team?' I said, `That's a good question,' " Gibbons said. "Then she said, `Are you going to get fired?' That's another good question. I didn't expect her to hammer me. I thought she'd give me a hug or something."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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