Two big things to consider for today's game. One, it is Earl Weaver statue unveiling day. Those brave souls that trek to the park in 100 degree heat will be rewarded with a statue replica. Perhaps the team will find a way to win one for Weaver.
The second big thing to consider is this: the spot start for the Orioles is being made by Dana Eveland, perhaps because Eveland is left-handed and the Indians are 6-16 against LHP. Something deeper may be at play in the sense that you can't spell Cleveland without "Eveland" - harnessing that kind of dark linguistic magic may well be a market inefficiency in baseball. Actually, it's more likely to be a funny coincidence, but who's counting?
Last night, as you know, the Orioles finally broke out of an offense-related rut, putting up 9 runs in the first game where they'd scored more than 4 since June 16. They needed every run they got last night, so it's not like we could wish they could carry some over to today. They will have to muster more offense today. Maybe they can do so against Indians starter Josh Tomlin, whose 5.70 ERA would be right at home at the back end of the O's rotation. He's given up 80 hits in 66.1 IP, including eleven home runs. Opponents have this slash line against Tomlin in 2012: .299/.341/.496.
If Tomlin melts in the heat, then this could be a good game for the Orioles. Though as someone who pitches in Cleveland, Tomlin is probably already familiar with hell. Eveland or any member of the O's could also perform poorly in the heat, especially as the game drags on. One thing about a 4:05 start time on a 100 degree day is it's not like things will start to cool off after an hour or an hour and a half because of the sun going down. You are locked in. Pity everyone who has to take the field and everyone whose seats are on the first-base side of the stadium.
In this afternoon's installment of Orioles defensive adventures, we have another instance of Chris Davis in right field - although I continue to be surprised by how decent he's looked out there - Wilson Betemit at a position other than DH (he's playing first base) and Ryan Flaherty at third base. Will Flaherty be less likely to collide with a fellow player or inexplicably fail to catch a ball in the infield? Maybe he will hush the critics and haters by piling on the FlahRBIs today. I could live with that.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Brian Roberts - 2B||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Xavier Avery - LF||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Jose Lopez - 3B|
|Wilson Betemit - 1B||Michael Brantley - CF|
|Chris Davis - RF||Shelley Duncan - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Casey Kotchman - 1B|
|Mark Reynolds - DH||Lou Marson - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 3B||Aaron Cunningham - LF|