Do you know what time it is?

May 17, 2007 | Drew Forrester

For the Orioles…it’s “gut check” time.

We’re all going to see up close and personal exactly what this group of guys is made of in the next 3 games.  The O’s are off tomorrow and then head down I-95 to take on the hapless Nationals for three games this weekend.

Three straight losses in Toronto, including another seemingly-uninspired effort tonight in which A.J. Burnett limited the Birds to just three hits.  What EXACTLY was Aubrey Huff swinging at with 2 outs in the top of the 9th tonight?  A lot of people used to question whether or not Fred Couples cared back in the 1990′s when he was one of the top 5 golfers in the world.  Freddie sort of strolled around the course back then…his swing was effortless, he looked the same whether or not he was making birdie or bogey and very rarely did he ever get excited.  Aubrey Huff is Fred Couples in a baseball uniform, except Huff hasn’t won a green jacket and unless you’re talking strictly about his bulging bank account, Huff hasn’t done “jack squat” – to borrow a line from Chris Farley’s Matt Foley character from Saturday Night Live – in his major league career.

They brought Huff to Baltimore as the team’s marquee off-season signing and so far we haven’t seen a whole lot from him.

Well, this weekend, it’s gut check time for Huff.

It’s also gut check time for Melvin Mora.  And Miguel Tejada.  And Jay Payton.  And Nick Markakis.  And Brian Roberts.  It’s gut check time for everyone on the roster.  This time needs piano MOVERS, not piano PLAYERS.  Who’s going to put the piano on their back and move it up 3 flights of steps this weekend in D.C.?

Gut-check time…for ALL of them.

Last Sunday in Boston, the manager bumbled and stumbled his way to the mound in the top of the 9th and initiated a landslide of discontent when he removed a pitcher and then handed the ball over to a pair of short-work specialists who between them couldn’t get two lousy outs.

Well, Sammy-bashers, who needs to be held accountable for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto?

5 runs in 3 games doesn’t cut it in ANY league, be it the Parkville Rec Council, Division I college baseball, the Bowie Baysox or the Baltimore Orioles.  I don’t recall but I’m sure someone out there can tell me – just how many bad pitches did Perlozzo swing at over the last three nights?

It’s gut check time, kids.

This is now on the players.  They’ve had a couple of days to shake the cobwebs out of their heads after Perlozzo helped gift-wrap that game in Boston.

But as S.E. Hinton wrote back in the ’70′s - “That was then, this is now”.

Who’s going to step up and get a key hit this weekend in Washington?  Who’s going to make the fielding gem that saves a couple of runs?  Who’s going to pitch their way out of a 9th inning jam to preserve a big victory?

Who?

I can’t wait to watch, because the time has come to watch THE PLAYERS.

The ride up Charles Street has come to an end for these cats.  It’s time for things to go BOTH ways and that means the players are now going to be held accountable for what happens at RFK this weekend.

For those of you getting ready to e-mail me and say, “Drew, are you nuts?  If they can’t beat the Nationals three straight, we’re in sorry shape.”

I’ve got news for you – we ARE in sorry shape, my brother.

It’s gut-check time.

Let’s see who comes through – and let’s see who keeps riding up Charles Street.

DF

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