Ravens' footing surest with Smith

THE SCHMUCK STOPS HERE

Last word

August 23, 2008|By PETER SCHMUCK

Ravens coach John Harbaugh made a lot of sense when he explained why he has designated Troy Smith as the starter for tonight's Game 3 of the preseason against the St. Louis Rams. Kyle Boller already has a long paper trail, and the Ravens have limited time to evaluate Smith, who played only a couple of games last year compared with Boller's 42 career starts.

The logic is unassailable, but I think there's more to it than that. The Ravens have played the first two preseason games behind a makeshift offensive line that is riddled with injuries. The team talks tough about pulling the O-line back together before the opener against the Cincinnati Bengals just 15 days hence, but who really knows who will be ready to step up when the time comes.

That's why Smith is an even more logical choice, because he has the escapability to survive if the team continues to have serious problems up front after the season begins. He needs to show he can find receivers downfield, something that appeared to be a problem last Saturday night, but job No. 1 is to remain standing long enough to give the offense a puncher's chance.

He'll likely play most of the game tonight, and then we should have a better idea one way or the other.

Bedard back to O's?

Thought that might get your attention. Erik Bedard is not an Oriole anymore, of course, but it looks like he won't be a Seattle Mariner much longer, either. The Mariners are less than thrilled with their end of last spring's deal with the Orioles - and Bedard isn't too thrilled with them either - so he's likely to be traded again this winter. Things have gone so badly, in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he has gotten a little nostalgic for Baltimore.

Which brings us to a totally hypothetical question: If he were offered back to the Orioles for a reasonable price - or becomes a free agent after next season - would you welcome him back? Post your answer at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

Don't remind us

Maybe I shouldn't bring this up, but yesterday was the first anniversary of the Orioles' historic (or was that hysteric) 30-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in the first game of a doubleheader at Camden Yards. That was also the day the team announced that manager Dave Trembley would manage the Orioles at least through the 2008 season. It's getting closer to the time when the club will have to make a decision on 2009, but I guess I understand why Andy MacPhail chose not to pick up the option yesterday.

Playoff-bound

Double-A Bowie reduced its magic number to win the Southern Division to one with last night's 7-1 victory at Binghamton. The Baysox, who clinched a playoff berth last night, are 79-54 and lead Akron by four games in the Southern Division of the Eastern League.

The Baysox will be making their first playoff appearance since 1997.

There are just nine regular-season games to play, so it's likely that the Baysox will win the division. If they win it, it would be the first division crown in team history.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.

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