Half a game back in the American League East. It wasn't always pretty in the first game of the doubleheader, but it was a win. The Orioles take the field again for the nightcap looking for a victory that, if New York somehow stumbles in Minnesota, would propel them into first place in the division. Even if they only end up matching the pace of the division leader, it's more and more cushion in the wild card race - towards making it at all, or hosting the one-game playoff. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now 6, unless I'm totally wrong, which would neither be the first nor the last time.
Game 2 is another one of those games where if you have pretensions of contention, with nine games left on the season, you'd better freaking win. It's Ricky Romero starting for the Blue Jays in the nightcap. 2012 Ricky Romero is a guy you need to beat. The end. It's actually not the end, because I need to rattle off a litany of reasons why. First and foremost is his 5.72 ERA in 2012. Despite that, he's managed a quality start in 14 of his 30 starts. That's not ideal, but it's not like he's never good. The one time he faced the Orioles this year was not a quality start - 6 IP, 4 ER, but the Jays won that gamebecause Jake Arrieta sucked as a starter on that day.
As far as Romero, he's got a 1.64 WHIP, and the league has an .809 OPS against him. Lots of walks - 99 in 173 IP.
For the Orioles, it's Wei-Yin Chen. He's gotten that extra day of rest since his last start, which has seemed to be crucial for him in the closing stretches of the season. He'll tackle a similar lineup (probably) to what the Blue Jays threw out in the afternoon, that never really got close to hurting Steve Johnson. What got Johnson was walks, and sometimes those are a problem for Chen, too. It'll be a different umpire behind home plate in the nightcap, and probably a different strike zone in turn. If he nibbles, he may get a different result, but he should stick to just attacking the Blue Jays.
I feel a bit like the Walrus of the Lewis Carroll poems. The time has come to talk of many things. They are all Birdland.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Rajai Davis - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Chris Davis - DH||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Yan Gomes - 1B|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Moises Sierra - RF|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Omar Vizquel - 2B|
|Robert Andino - 2B||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Taylor Teagarden - C||Anthony Gose - CF|