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O's Hope to Play Up To Contenders' Level

Fans await the start of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles, one of several major league games postponed last night.
Fans await the start of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles, one of several major league games postponed last night. (By Gail Burton -- Associated Press)
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By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008

BALTIMORE, Sept. 12 -- Though the Baltimore Orioles fell from playoff contention long ago, Baltimore Orioles Manager Dave Trembley called a 15-minute meeting in his team's clubhouse on Friday afternoon to drive home an important message.

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"I want to end this season right," Trembley said.

The opener of a three-game series between the Orioles and Twins was one of several games with postseason implications postponed on Friday night because of heavy rain. Still, Trembley hopes the point sticks on Saturday, when the Orioles and the Twins make up for the lost game in a doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m.

"I think there's an obligation when you're playing contending teams to bring your team up to that level, to play with some energy and a sense of spirit," Trembley said.

Starting with the Twins, who are just a game behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, all of the Orioles' opponents until the end of the season are playing for postseason berths.

The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees maintain slim hopes for the playoffs while the Tampa Bay Rays are trying to fend off the Boston Red Sox for the AL East lead.

The Orioles' opponents over the last two weeks own a combined .550 winning percentage and, at season's end, could include two division champions.

With division races hanging in the balance, Trembley plans on breaking from a recent trend by playing all of his regular starters.

Before the postponement, the Orioles' original starting lineup on Friday included all nine regulars, including Melvin Mora, who was scheduled to play third base for the first time since returning from a hamstring strain.

"I think it's just the etiquette of the game to put your best nine guys out there," Trembley said.

Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera (8-9, 5.26 ERA) will face Minnesota's Scott Baker (8-4, 2.66) in the first game of the doubleheader. Left-hander Garrett Olson (9-7, 6.43) will take the mound for the Orioles against fellow lefty Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.11) in the nightcap.

Even though batting practice was canceled, the grounds crew worked on the field to dry it out and it appeared the game would start on time. But three minutes before the scheduled 7:11 first pitch, the tarp was rolled out and the field was covered again.


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