Mariners sink below Orioles

Did you feel different when you woke up this morning?

It might have something to do with the AL standings. Or the cocktail dress and blonde wig you were inexplicably wearing.

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Let's focus on the standings.

The Orioles no longer are the worst team in the league. Their 56-88 record puts them a game ahead of Seattle, which fell to 55-89 with last night's loss to Boston.

Buck Ball!

Showalter Time!

The guy really should have his own t-shirt night.

Don't look now - OK, you can peek - but Kansas City and Cleveland are tied for last place in the Central Division with 58-85 records. And in the NL, Arizona is stumbling along at 57-87 after losing eight of its last 10.

Washington, which looked like it would leave the Orioles in MASN's dust earlier this season, is 60-84.

Funny how things have turned around since Aug. 3 - though not as funny as that cocktail dress and wig.

I've said too much. Awkward silence.

The Orioles improved to 11-2 in series openers under Buck Showalter. Everything is better these days, except attendance when the Ravens are playing.

"I think we see it as a building block for next year," Nick Markakis said. "We've got to still finish up this year. We've still got a lot of things we need to work on. But that's baseball. Every team has got to work on things and I think we've just got to work on playing together as a team and winning as a team. And I think we are getting the gist of it and we've just got to build on it."

Learning how to win. It might sound ridiculous coming from grown men, but how many players on this roster have been on teams that finished above .500? How many have made the playoffs?

Seriously, I'm asking. I'm too tired to look it up.

I'll check on three injured Orioles today. Brian Roberts probably won't play tonight, but Brian Matusz probably will make his next start. Depends how much that left arm swells up. At least he got hit in the triceps area. It could have been worse.

Julio Lugo would normally be a candidate to replace Roberts at second base, but he's dealing with headaches that likely stem from the pickoff throw in Anaheim that nailed him in the helmet. We're talking the last Sunday in August, and he's still feeling the effects.

If you were wondering why the Orioles added Robert Andino to the extended roster, that's a pretty good reason. We weren't aware of Lugo's situation until Showalter mentioned it after last night's game.

"Do you guys know what's going on with Lugo?"

Um, not really.

No offense to Lugo, but he's not one of the guys you automatically check on when he's out of the lineup.

Lugo saw a specialist after first pitch and Showalter was still scrambling to gather more information after meeting with reporters. He also wanted to watch a replay of the Ravens game.

The more I watch these Showalter Orioles, the more I want to fast-forward to Opening Day 2011. And the June draft, when his team might be picking in the middle of the pack.

Shameless plug alert: I'm doing a segment on O's Xtra tonight in the bullpen area.

Shameless apology alert: I accidentally deleted a comment before going to bed last night that, I believe, included mention of the Orioles no longer being on pace to lose 100 games. I just got a quick look while wiping out a full page of spam comments, and that one inadvertently got thrown into the mix. I noticed my mistake just as the comment was disappearing from my screen, and I couldn't retrieve it. Sorry about that. Feel free to re-send it.

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