White Sox-Orioles Preview

After the first two games of their series were postponed because of riots that broke out near Camden Yards following the funeral of Freddie Gray, the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles will get to play the finale – albeit in a closed stadium.

The public won’t be allowed to attend Wednesday’s contest amid safety concerns, and the game was also moved up five hours to avoid conflicting with a citywide curfew that begins at 10 p.m.

"It would have been very difficult to make up all three games, so we needed to play that game on Wednesday," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "You just try to do the best you can in this kind of situation."

The Orioles have also had their Friday-to-Sunday series against Tampa Bay shifted from Camden to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, with Baltimore remaining the home team and batting last.

Rioters looted stores and threw rocks and bricks at police about three miles from the stadium Monday in the wake of the mysterious death of Gray. He died April 19 after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody.

That led to Major League Baseball postponing Monday night’s game about 40 minutes before it was set to start, and the decision to call off the next contest and create the rare arrangement for Wednesday was made earlier in the day Tuesday.

"After conversations with the Orioles and local officials, we believe that these decisions are in the best interests of fan safety and the deployment of city resources," Commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB’s official website. "Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by violence in Baltimore, and everyone in our game hopes for peace and the safety of a great American city."

The two postponed games will be made up as a single-admission doubleheader May 28.

"It’s all about what’s best for the city and the safety of our people,’" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "The last thing you want to do is put the fans in harm’s way. You have to err on the side of safety."

The Baseball Hall of Fame and John Thorn, MLB’s official historian, said they did not think there ever had been a closed-doors big league game, although there have been instances in the minor leagues.

"It’s definitely going to be unchartered territory," Showalter said.

Thorn said the lowest attendance for a major league game appears to be six when Worcester hosted Troy in a National League contest Sept. 28, 1882.

Major League Baseball has postponed and shifted games in the past because of unrest.

In 1992, the Dodgers had four games postponed in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict.

In 1967, the Orioles and Tigers had a game postponed because of riots in Detroit. The next two games were shifted to Baltimore.

The White Sox’s Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 3.33 ERA) and the Orioles’ Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 2.30), who had been scheduled to go Monday, are set to finally take the mound.

Samardzija is appealing a five-game suspension handed down after Thursday’s brawl with Kansas City. The right-hander had a 6.23 ERA after his first two starts but allowed one run in 14 innings over his next two.

Chicago completed two wins over Kansas City on Sunday – the regularly scheduled 5-3 victory and a 3-2 win from Friday’s suspended game – and is 8-5 since dropping its first four.

"Over the last five or six games we’ve played a really good brand of baseball," reliever Zach Duke said.

Baltimore (9-10) has averaged 6.11 runs in its last nine after Sunday’s 18-7 home win over Boston. The Orioles got five RBIs from Delmon Young, who is 13 for 29 in his last eight games. He’s hit Chicago at a .333 clip, his best average versus any team against which he has at least 50 at-bats.

Jimenez allowed four runs in five innings of last Wednesday’s 4-2 loss in Toronto, and while he’s held opponents to a .135 average, he’s walked six in 8 2-3 innings over his last two starts.

The right-hander has gone 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 10 career starts against the White Sox. Conor Gillaspie is 5 for 11 against Jimenez, Adam Eaton is 3 for 4 and Jose Abreu 1 for 3 with a home run.