GameThread: Orioles (54-87) @ Tigers (71-71), 7:05pm

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Last night's 6-3 victory over the Tigers coupled with a Seattle loss means that the Orioles are now only 1 game behind Seattle for the 3rd-worst record in MLB. I find this ascent - and subsequent descent down next year's draft board - fascinating, because for so much of the season it just seemed like a foregone conclusion that the #1 pick was ours. Now, not only are we 6 games better than Pittsburgh, but we're within three games of passing three more teams. Since the rest of our season is only the AL East and Detroit, we won't be playing any of those teams, but if the O's continue outperforming expectations in this final stretch of the season, there's going to be a lot to take away from the end of this season that is positive towards next year.

Tonight's game looks good by virtue of it being a Jeremy Guthrie start. Amidst all the inconsistency in the rotation, Guts has been the one good pitcher all year - not that it's reflected in his 9-13 record. The 3.89 ERA isn't exactly 1999 Pedro Martinez territory, but it's nearly a full run lower than the staff ERA. If the whole pitching staff was at Guthrie's level, we're talking probably 120+ fewer runs allowed on the season. That doesn't get us to .500 in Pythagorean terms, but it sure gets us out of four months worth of "worst team ever?" conversations.

Most of the time when Guts has been pitching, I talk about the other starter's stats and indicate that Guts is not impressed. I can't make that claim when it comes to tonight's Tigers starter, Max Scherzer, whose 3.51 ERA is better. Scherzer came to Detroit from Arizona in the same trade that brought Austin Jackson to the Tigers and sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. Most of the time you'd expect an NL pitcher to struggle coming into the AL, but Scherzer's done well for himself on the year, having racked up a 3.3 WAR according to baseball-reference. Guthrie's got a 4.0 WAR, though, so maybe he's not impressed after all.

Due to the six man rotation business, plus off days, Guthrie will be starting on six days rest. It's generally accepted he does worse on extra rest, particularly in the home run department, which you can see broken down here on Weaver's Tantrum. Small sample size and all that, so hopefully tonight's start goes against what that sample suggests.

Alright, Guts. No dongs. And yes, that is what she said. Go O's!



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