For a second straight game, the Orioles will have Mark Reynolds as the DH with Wilson Betemit inserted into the lineup at third base. I questioned this decision yesterday, as I question it today, given the possibility that Betemit could be worse (though he may not look worse), and Betemit responded by not totally failing, and moreover, having the go-ahead hit. If he were to continue that pattern of a lack of complete failure today, that would be great.
The O's hitters today will be facing Toronto starter Henderson Alvarez, who, at age 21, is entering his first full big league season. What have you done with your life, huh? Don't worry, I'm in the same boat. Alvarez is a strike-thrower, if not a strikeout pitcher. Through the minors he managed walk rates below 2 per 9, with K rates around 6.5 per 9. That's not getting into Verlander territory of strikeouts, but it's an impressive K/BB ratio. He gets a lot of contact, so he'd better hope his defense is on its toes, and also that whatever factor made fly balls turn into home runs last night is not in play today. He has a HR/9 rate of 1.15 in his young major league career, but said young career consists of 69.2 IP, so it probably doesn't mean anything.
Jason Hammel will get his first look against non-Twins hitters on the season. The more I look at his stats, the more I think that the Orioles traded Jeremy Guthrie for a less witty, less Mormon version of Guthrie who throws 30 fewer innings per season. That may very well be wrong, because bloggers exist to be wrong. I would be glad to be wrong about Hammel if he was awesome all season. Hammel gets K-rates in the 6s, like Alvarez, but has walk-rates in the 3s, so his K/BB is not a very compelling stat. Actually, everything about Jason Hammel, except his FIP, is not a very compelling stat. So it goes.
Apparently figuring that there's no need to mess with lineups that combined to score 12 runs last night, both the O's and the Blue Jays are sending out the exact same players in the exact same order as yesterday. More likely, these are just the default lineups for each team against right-handed pitchers, as both teams starters last night were righties, and both teams starters today are righties. Something crazy could happen, like Chris Davis getting on base. He didn't get on base yesterday, but he only struck out once, so that's kind of like a moral victory.
You know the season is young when I can write things like, "With a win today, the Orioles are guaranteed to have at least a tie in first place in the American League East." That kind of thing won't last for long, but it's fun to say while it lasts, isn't it? Go O's!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Kelly Johnson - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adam Lind - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Eric Thames - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - DH||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||J.P. Arencibia - C|