4:00 Update: This game has been postponed until September 24th -Stacey
Well, so that happened. And now the Orioles enter the third game of this series still hoping that the weather will hold off from raining - it never did get a delay last night, and I probably should have taken those last-minute tickets after all. Today they're looking to sweep the reeling Blue Jays. Did you think they would enter this game looking to get the sweep? I did not. The Jays are losers of their last seven games and are bound to turn it around eventually. Hopefully they will stay on the disastrous path just long enough to get out of Baltimore. Then they can turn it around against the Yankees.
Today's game will have Chris Tillman starting for the Orioles against Henderson Alvarez for the Jays. Dare I say that this matchup appears to favor the Orioles, on paper? I always get nervous typing that sentence. I am never sure if it is actually true, and of course - as the O's themselves can tell us from numerous points this season - a favorability on paper may never quite make it to the field.
Still, Tillman's had some decent outings beyond just beating Seattle and he's now pitching to the tune of a 3.71 ERA this year. Then again, that includes 7 home runs in 51 innings and there's a certain power-hitting tandem on Toronto... wait a minute, no there isn't! That powerful lefty bopper Jose Bautista is back on the disabled list with the same wrist ailment that landed him there in the first place. So really it's just Edwin Encarnacion and an army of guys who will still crush a mistake pitch - at Friday night's game I had just finished telling everyone near me how much Jeff Mathis sucks when he hit a home run.
Jeff Mathis does suck, and so do a number of other players on the Blue Jays roster, but they are still professional, Major League Baseball players and they are better at baseball than you or I will ever be at anything. So make your pitches, Tillman.
Alvarez going for the Jays means the Orioles hitters get to face a guy against whom the league is batting .301/.347/.482. That's in the neighborhood of Adam Jones, except Alvarez has struck out only 8.8% of batters and Jones strikes out 16.9% of the time. Alvarez is a total contact pitcher. 3.43 K/9. 1.48 WHIP. Here's a guy you need to beat and a game you need to win if you want to hang with the big boys in the wild card (and dare we hope for the division?) chase. You can't let a 4.84 ERA pitcher off the hook. They will be facing many better guys than this over the next month and a half. Win the easy ones. We're counting on you, Orioles! You've gone and gotten our hopes up - if you're going to crush them, at least don't crush them by losing to Henderson Alvarez.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Rajai Davis - LF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Mike McCoy - CF|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adam Lind - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Chris Davis - DH||Kelly Johnson - 2B|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Yorvit Torrealba - C|
|Omar Quintanilla - 2B||Moises Sierra - RF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Adeiny Hechavarria - 3B|