Game 103: Orioles (53-49) @ Yankees (60-41), 7:05pm

It could be a bad sign if Miguel Gonzalez is making this face at any point during tonight's game. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
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The vacation from the big boys of the AL East is over. The Orioles head into Yankee Stadium tonight to begin a three-game series and as they cling tenuously to something resembling wild card contention, with the trade deadline happening to fall during this series, this is where we'll find out whether they can really hang in there or if they are doomed to fall back to the pack - or worse, into oblivion.

It feels like the Yankees haven't lost in forever. Actually, they lost last night, so what you feel is not always correct. It is true that they have won an approximate one million games since the last time the Orioles played them. Their offensive juggernaut has torn through the league and managed to compensate for having a shaky starting rotation at times. What a concept, that. And as it turns out, the shaky parts of the rotation are what will be seen in this series. I guess that counts as good news - except it's the shaky parts of the Orioles rotation that will be appearing too. And the shaky parts of the offense, which I think might be all the parts that aren't Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.

Freddy Garcia was seen last year as part of the duo (with Bartolo Colon) who'd clearly benefited from some kind of satanic ritual to resurrect their careers. Colon has stretched another year out of that pact, but Garcia is not doing as well. He has a 5.16 ERA this year, with a 6.60 ERA coming in his 9 starts - he also spent some time in the bullpen, and was good. Slop out of the bullpen is probably not a bad strategy. That is what Garcia throws: he is a junkball kind of pitcher. Hey, who do we always see struggle against junkball pitchers? Aw, crap.

Miguel Gonzalez will be starting for the Orioles. If he lives down in the zone he will probably be fine. If he lives too low or high then he probably won't. Walks and home runs were a problem in his last outing. He has not faced an offense as good as the Yankees. That's for sure. Tonight he will face the Yankees. Well... good luck, Miguel.

I attended the friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC. One thing I concluded is that these fans have more fun at their matches than do American fans at baseball and football games. I was particularly impressed by the chanting and the singing. I heard one song, "Where The F--- Is Man United?" (to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) that had me rolling on the floor.

Since then I've spent some time thinking of Orioles-related, Yankee hate songs. Here's what I've got so far - also to the tune of the Battle Hymn.

Well, Derek Jeter sucks but he's a lock to make the Hall
Though his only way to score's when Maier reaches o'er the wall
And when he gives you herpes he will autograph a ball
The Yankees can get f---ed!

(chorus)

Fuck the fucking New York Yankees
Fuck the fucking New York Yankees
Fuck the fucking New York Yankees
The Yankees can get fucked!

No point in mincing words, is there? Come on, this is inspired by football hooligans!


Lineup

BALTIMORE ORIOLES NEW YORK YANKEES
Nick Markakis - RF Derek Jeter - SS
J.J. Hardy - SS Curtis Granderson - CF
Chris Davis - DH Mark Teixeira - 1B
Adam Jones - CF Robinson Cano - 2B
Matt Wieters - C Nick Swisher - DH
Lew Ford - LF Raul Ibanez - LF
Wilson Betemit - 3B Eric Chavez - SS
Mark Reynolds - 1B Ichiro Suzuki - RF
Omar Quintanilla - 2B Ian Stewart - C

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