The Manny Machado-less Baltimore Orioles are in Toronto this evening to open up the second half of the season with a three-game set on the road against their AL East rivals. I do find it interesting that we still call the post-All Star break the second half. The Birds have already played 97 games, which is 16 more than halfway through the season. But I digress.
This has been a tough week for the Orioles, and I’m not talking personally per se. Machado had a lot of friends in the clubhouse, all of whom are sad to see him go. But the very public departure and the lead up to said departure of a player wears on a team. The trade discussions were already hot as it was, but the fire really got hot when Machado was lifted from Sunday’s game against Texas. While the official reason was a wet field in the wake of a rain delay (which in theory was true), we obviously knew something was up.
However all of that needs to be in the past now. It goes without saying that the Orioles aren’t in contention, nor could they potentially play their way back into contention. But the season’s still on. There in fact does appear to be a new direction in which the franchise is heading, and that has to begin tonight. Granted, the roster might well look different in a week. However the players that remain now, tomorrow, and onward need to put this out of their minds and just play ball.
In effect, I’m saying that the term I used in the first sentence (the Manny Machado-less Orioles) isn’t one that should really be used. They aren’t the Machado-less Orioles, nor will they be the Britton-less Orioles or the Jones-less Orioles. They’re the Orioles. If players keep in their minds that this player or that one is now gone and question how they’re going to go on as a team (in the manner that some fans do), things will go from bad to worse.
The Orioles will have to make a roster move prior to this evening’s game, for the mere reason that they’ll need to fill Machado’s slot on the roster. It’s unclear who will be coming up, but the Orioles will announce something before the game. Incidentally, while the Birds do open the second half on the road, it’s really just a one-series trip. Monday they’ll be back at Camden Yards for a homestand that includes Boston and Tampa.