Just over a year ago, on Sept. 27, 2010, the Orioles were leading the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-0, in the ninth inning of a largely meaningless road game when second baseman Brian Roberts came to the plate.

He felt prepared for the at-bat, and believed reliever Joaquin Benoit would throw him a changeup. With the count 2-2, the right-hander did.

Roberts still swung and missed.

"Sometimes the pitcher could tell you what's coming and you still wouldn't execute your plan right," he says, clearly still miffed.

On his way to the dugout, he did something he has done countless times: in frustration, he thwacked himself on the helmet with his bat. All of Tropicana Field began to whirl. And so began a tailspin that would sideline the two-time All-Star for 145 of the next 168 games.