Jim Rogash - Getty Images
It's a must-win for the Orioles as they face off against Carlos Villanueva. Can they break out of the mini-funk and lower the magic number?
Momentum, thy name is Miguel Gonzalez. Whether this is a good thing or bad, I honestly have no idea at all. We will find out tonight. It has felt, for the most part, through this series, that there has been a lot of bad luck dealt to Orioles pitchers. Perhaps that means they are getting their luck evened out from earlier in the year. Perhaps it means their luck is due to turn around tonight. More likely I should remember what Obi-Wan Kenobi says, and that there is no such thing as luck. There is only an inscrutable universe.
After watching the Orioles generally fail to touch up on two straight crappy Blue Jays pitchers, tonight we will watch them against what passes for decent in Toronto, that being Carlos Villanueva. His 3.88 ERA looks hopeful until we remember how they failed against guys pitching to near-5 ERAs. Also, if we look at Villanueva's K/9 rate, which is a healthy 8.58. Of course, the Orioles love to strike out and they also love to ground into double plays, and any time they do a lot of both it's seldom good. Villanueva has gotten slightly worse results as a starter, pitching to a 4.14 ERA. He is prone to giving up some home runs. That doesn't suck, and maybe the Orioles can take advantage of that, because they really need to. It's starting to get kind of silly.
Gonzalez is coming off two straight quality starts. With the way the offense has been scoring runs, a quality start may not even be good enough, but it is better than nothing. He is a fly ball pitcher who relies on being able to control his pitches. If he can't, that's going to make for another long night for us, and especially long for me, sitting in the press box with the possibility of a rain delay. Hopefully the Gonzalez who pitched against New York at the end of August will show up tonight.
Are Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy making you sad at the plate lately? Me too. Well, they're both in the lineup tonight and they'll probably be in the lineup every day from here on, as well. Tonight would be a pretty good night to heat up. So would Friday. The magic number remains at 6. There are 7 games to play. As Adam Jones would say, stay hungry and leave it all on the field. Hopefully tonight, that's enough.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Chris Davis - RF||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Matt Wieters - C||Adam Lind - 1B|
|Jim Thome - DH||Rajai Davis - RF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Omar Vizquel - 2B|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Anthony Gose - LF|