Game 39: Padres (16-21) @ Orioles (23-15), 7:05

USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tillman, the best Orioles starter on the active roster, kicks off a two-game series against the San Diego Padres. What a weird sentence.

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Is there anything weirder than a two-game series against the San Diego Padres, with an off day on both sides of the series? It takes time to fire up the hate machine, get a good lather worked up. Most days of my life I don't even think about the existence of San Diego, unless for some reason I happen to have occasion to think about Carmen Sandiego, who, last I heard, stole the more from Baltimore and lifted wedding veils in Maryland.

What is the angle here? Ooh, Chase Headley finally appears in Baltimore after being a perpetual target of trade rumors and such. The Orioles weren't giving up what San Diego was asking for last year. Thanks to Manny Machado, that didn't turn out to be a bad decision for last year, but Headley's .294/.384/.518 - with half of his games in Petco, no less - would look pretty good in this Orioles lineup. Headley at third, Machado at short, Hardy at second, or something crazy? That wouldn't be terrible. But we can't exactly complain, can we?

Speaking of Machado, he is engaged to the sister of Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, so there's another angle that is ultimately meaningless.

Grounder machine Andrew Cashner is the starting pitcher for the Padres tonight. The guy gets over 50% ground balls! That will play even if your home park isn't Petco. He's pitched in nine games and made four starts, and his biggest problem is a walk rate of nearly 4.50 per nine innings. Also in two of his four starts, he only went four innings. Not really much to get excited about getting into the bullpen in a two-game series. Just score some runs off these dudes. Preferably more than they score against the Orioles.

Chris Tillman is decidedly not a grounder machine. He is starting for the Orioles tonight. He is working on a string of four straight quality starts, managing a quality start in his most recent start despite giving up three walks and two home runs. Maybe no walks and no home runs tonight, Chris?

With all the injuries and ineffectiveness in the O's rotation up to this point, Tillman is the best starter in terms of this year's results who is currently pitching. That is a frightening thing to consider. It's also true. This is the world we live in. And despite that statement being true, the Orioles are eight games over .500 and one game back of the American League East lead.

The Padres offense has scored the seventh-fewest runs in all of MLB. The Orioles offense has scored the third-most. Whether those trends mean anything for these two games is to be determined, but those are the trends. The Padres are 6-13 on the road. O's, what do you say you make that 6-15? That would be alright with us.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES SAN DIEGO PADRES
Everth Cabrera - SS Nate McLouth - LF
Will Venable - RF Manny Machado - 3B
Chase Headley - 3B Nick Markakis - RF
Carlos Quentin - LF Adam Jones - CF
Yonder Alonso - 1B Chris Davis - 1B
Mark Kotsay - DH Matt Wieters - C
Jedd Gyorko - 2B J.J. Hardy - SS
Chris Denorfia - CF Ryan Flaherty - 2B
Nick Hundley - C Steve Pearce - DH

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