Hey Joe, whaddaya know? ... How to be a mediocre pitcher? Uh, do you think we can work on that today? (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The Orioles find themselves about to play their third day game in three days, in two different road cities. Is that a big deal? Manager Buck Showalter seems to think it is, because he told the media this could be the toughest game of this little road trip. He might be right.
The team has now crossed the longest friendly border in the world, but it's anything other than friendly they hope to be in their time playing against the Blue Jays. This is the second place team with possible designs on playing for first later in the week. They must win. As my favorite person with a machine gun built into his arm once said, "You can't stop now! There ain't no gettin' off of this train we on!"
Indeed, there is no escape. The AL East (and wild card) train rolls on. Every day they show up to play baseball they need to win a game. How are their chances looking today? Well, that's up to Joe Saunders, who sucked in his first start as an Oriole. Will he fare better today? I don't know, man. I didn't want him on the team to begin with, but he's here, so good luck. Hopefully he watches out for Edwin Encarnacion, who hit a 488 foot home run only two days ago. That's a long freaking home run.
Back to the reason why Buck thought this would be the hardest game of the trip, that's because getting up and getting going for the third straight day game could be hard, I guess. So hopefully the team is all woken up and ready to go from a night in Toronto. They will have to face J.A. Happ, who was on Philadelphia once, then Houston, and now his saga takes him to Toronto. He's only pitched in nine games for the Blue Jays since being acquired and has a 4.58 ERA for them. It's not a great ERA on the year, but he has nearly a strikeout per inning pitched. He is still not the kind of guy they can sleep on or look past, because if they do, then they could lose, and in Tampa the Yankees could win, and then it'll be three games back.
The Orioles love them some homers. Happ, a lefty, has given up 19 homers this year. Right-handed hitters are batting .265/.341/.464 off of Happ this year, with 14 home runs. Say, do the Orioles have any righty batters who are breaking into a home run tear of late? Mark Reynolds, keep on shining!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Rajai Davis - LF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Adam Lind - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Kelly Johnson - 2B|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Moises Sierra - RF|
|Lew Ford - DH||Jeff Mathis - C|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Adeiny Hechavarria - 3B|