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Game 147: Rays (82-64) @ Orioles (58-88), 7:05pm

What kind of sauce will he be tonight?
What kind of sauce will he be tonight?

Orioles fatigue has set in. This did not happen last year because we had the new manager smell going on with Buck whipping a bunch of young players into shape (or whatever really happened), getting them to start winning a bunch of games. It was exciting to see who would take a step forward. This year the new smell is gone and the honeymoon is over. No one took a step forward and many took steps backward. Some tumbled off cliffs. And Buck still bats Vladimir Guerrero cleanup at this late date, still deploys Kevin Gregg to get saves, and does things like play both Matt Angle *and* Kyle Hudson while letting Nolan Reimold sit on the bench. That happened last night.

Meanwhile, Orioles fans are left praying that all the vague rumors of Buck potentially becoming GM as well as manager are totally baseless. What a difference a year makes, and it wasn't a good difference.

So, tonight's game: David Price vs. Alfredo Simon. Yeah, that's really happening. Funny thing, though: the O's beat Price the last time they faced him, dinking and dunking their way to three runs in the 7th inning in a rare game where an Orioles starter only gave up two runs and Gregg didn't blow a save despite loading the bases. On a given night, any weird thing can happen. There could be a no-hitter or a cycle or a three-HR game. The O's are much more likely to be on the wrong end of any of that than they are to be on the right end, but when game time arrives, 10,000 simulations don't matter, only the one game does.

Simon hasn't been able to find the strike zone so far in September. He walked six in four innings against New York in his last start, and four in five innings against the Rays in the start before that. Short starter outings mean more bullpen scrubs. The Orioles have no shortage of bullpen scrubs, or indeed any kind of scrubs, with the bulk of the September callups being players we knew sucked by May. It seems we are back to Weak Sauce.

Man, this team is really depressing. Here's to hoping irrationally for a baseball miracle tonight. Go O's!