Game 71: Orioles (40-30) @ Tigers (38-29), 7:08

USA TODAY Sports

Jake Arrieta vs. Max Scherzer could be the Reverse Lock of the Year - at least until tomorrow.

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Let's get the most important aspect of this game out of the way first: what the heck is up with a 7:08 start time? Did Detroit decide that they have to one-up Toronto as far as weird start times? I don't understand it.

Now for some baseball, although the truth is we may not want to think about the baseball too much, because it's hard to envision a scenario where Jake Arrieta pitches well against this Tigers lineup - and even if he does pitch well by Jake standards, like a five-and-dive game with three earned runs, it's still going to be the Orioles hitters against Max Scherzer of the Tigers.

On the other hand, I shouldn't be so dour, because while Scherzer is not a pitcher you want to face, the Orioles offense is not the hitters that a pitcher wants to face. Last time Scherzer faced the O's, he went eight innings and gave up only three runs, and the game was utterly blown by Jose Valverde. Pretty tough to count on that two times, especially since Valverde has finally (possibly) worn out his welcome as the closer.

I get annoyed by Detroit, because with that starting rotation and some of their star players on offense, they should be running away with the world. Instead, they're just coasting along in their division, leading comfortably only because the second-place team is Cleveland with a .500 record. They will once again get to glide to a division title, never have to face the prospect of a one-game playoff. Maybe they will look better than they do now after the next two games, which could end up being back-to-back shutouts by Detroit.

Sorry. I got a little carried away.

Here's the thing. Arrieta is the latest in the line of frustrating Orioles pitchers. He is possibly down to his last chance, and perhaps even beyond his last chance. He's only starting tonight's game out of convenience, not because they particularly want him to. He could throw a perfect game tonight - OK, a no-hitter, let's not get carried away again - and probably still be making his next start in Norfolk. There's no room in the rotation for an inconsistent no-longer-prospect.

And yet, this is the guy who struck out nine Yankees while walking none in eight innings one game last year in Yankee Stadium. How can he do that one night and suck so much so many other nights? This is the great Arrieta mystery. Perhaps tonight he will show us Good Jake.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES DETROIT TIGERS
Nate McLouth - LF Austin Jackson - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Torii Hunter - RF
Nick Markakis - RF Miguel Cabrera - 3B
Adam Jones - CF Prince Fielder - 1B
Chris Davis - 1B Victor Martinez - DH
Matt Wieters - C Jhonny Peralta - SS
J.J. Hardy - SS Andy Dirks - LF
Chris Dickerson - DH Omar Infante - 2B
Ryan Flaherty - 2B Brayan Pena - C

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