Center fielder Adam Jones held his tongue as he watched Orioles attendance dwindle over the past 16 months, but he said Wednesday that it’s a sad situation and he’s not sure exactly how to explain it.

“We’re going out there busting our tails,” he said before Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox. “The fans’ impact at Camden Yards is unbelievable. I think they know that. I think they understand that. The players understand that. Obviously, this week and this last homestand, this last 11 games, are arguably the most important games of the season. We’ve fought our tails off for 150 games to put ourselves into a unique situation in September. That’s what you say, you want to play important September baseball, and part of September baseball, especially if you’re in the East, is the fans.”

The Orioles drew fewer than 40,000 fans combined for the first two games of a series that has had a big impact on the team’s postseason prospects – though not a positive impact. Jones said the situation is “not sad, just, like, eerie,” and wonders why the crowds aren’t bigger.

“Every place you go, the fans are going to be there,” he said. “You go to Detroit, they were there for them. Boston, which is one of the most desirable places to be at anyway, so they’re there. I know when we go on the road to Toronto, you know they’re going to be there. They’ve been there since the trade deadline last year.”

So why aren’t more fans here?

“I think there are many different sides of it,” he said. “It’s due to school starting, weather – which is understandable – and danger, which I don’t see. I understand but I don’t necessarily see that.”

“I’m not going to say I’m disappointed,” he added. “We grind and grind and grind. I understand. There’s a lot of factors to it. The tickets are a little higher, but you can bring in your own food and beverages. You take in the marketing, promotions, I’m sure they’re not the best. I get all that, but I’m saying, the city wanted a winner. The last five years we’ve gotten a winner. I don’t know if they’ve gotten complacent on us from winning. I hope they haven’t, because winning is fun every single year. Being in this race is very exciting every single year.”

Jones said he obviously isn’t criticizing the fans who are showing up every night to support the team.

“To the ones who have been coming every night, thank you with open arms,” Jones said. “We appreciate it because you don’t have to and we know what you have to go through to get here. Some people commute very far. Some people live downtown. Some people live in other cities. We do appreciate the support that has come through.”

The club can take solace in the fact that its MASN ratings are strong.

METS: Steven Matz is tentatively scheduled to return to the team’s injury-ravaged rotation Friday night against Philadelphia after throwing a bullpen session Wednesday at Citi Field.

BRAVES: Reliever Jose Ramirez dropped his appeal of his three-game suspension for throwing a pitch near the head of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.