Game 26: Orioles (15-10) @ Mariners (11-16), 10:10

USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles take the field in Seattle tonight, looking to figuratively smear old friend Joe Saunders, the Mariners starter, into a fine paste.

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Three games against the Mariners, with neither Felix Hernandez nor Hisashi Iwakuma scheduled to pitch any of the games. Seattle has one of the worst offenses, putting up a collective .237/.302/.372 slash line. Win the goddamn games. The end.

That curiously clutch contributor to the stretch run and playoffs last season, Joe Saunders, is the Mariners starter tonight. He received the win in a one-game playoff where the opposing starter was Yu Darvish. That happened. I will speak no ill of Saunders, for he is beyond reproach. But if I was going to speak ill of him, I would say that I hope he performs tonight in line with his season to date: a 6.33 ERA. Nothing personal, Joe.

Speaking of players on the Mariners who should never have to buy a drink in Baltimore ever again, there's Robert Andino. Puzzlingly inserted as the starting shortstop, despite an equally-futile-hitting-but-definitely-Gold-Glove-caliber-defense player in Brendan Ryan, Andino was the hero of the precursor to the great 2012 adventure. I ought speak no ill of him either, only know this: his batting line is presently .190/.244/.262. That is disgusting, you say! And it is disgusting. Ryan Flaherty's triple slash is lower across the board. Barf.

Andino is actually starting at second base tonight, so Ryan is also in the lineup. Hey, whatever works.

Noted Lord Voldemort impersonator Raul Ibanez is not to be seen in the starting lineup, yet I fear him still. He lurks in the shadows, seeking the power of the Elder Bat.

As for the Orioles, Nate McLouth takes a rest after his big day yesterday since Saunders happens to throw the ball with his left hand. Is that a good idea? Maybe Buck wants to give Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce a chance to turn things around against an easy (hopefully) lefty like Saunders. Who ever knows. Lineups don't matter anyway, it's just that they're something to talk about every day, so why not? And hey, since Saunders is a lefty, Matt Wieters can bat right-handed! Hooray!

Zach Britton will be starting for the Orioles, making his 2013 debut. The Orioles managed to not need him for emergency work when he was available as the long man over the last several games, so he gets the opportunity to start here. I don't have any idea whatsoever about what to expect from him. He had more walks than strikeouts in his three AAA starts, which makes me nervous, but what do three AAA starts, one of which was interrupted by a blister on his finger, matter? No, but really, seven walks in 13.2 IP makes me nervous.

Throw some freaking strikes! And get some ground balls so the fact that they moved the Safeco fences in doesn't matter. And maybe spare the bullpen so they don't all get run ragged? I'm not holding out too much hope for that last one.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES SEATTLE MARINERS
Nick Markakis - RF Michael Saunders - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Kyle Seager - 3B
Adam Jones - CF Kendrys Morales - 1B
Chris Davis - 1B Michael Morse - RF
Matt Wieters - C Jesus Montero - C
J.J. Hardy - SS Justin Smoak - DH
Steve Pearce - DH Jason Bay - LF
Nolan Reimold - LF Robert Andino - 2B
Alexi Casilla - 2B Brendan Ryan - SS

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