Following on the heels of a loss that was heartbreaking in how it tantalized fans with so many chances that were not realized, the Orioles will be back against the Rays at 7:05 on MASN on Tuesday night.
The brief experiment with Nick Markakis batting much lower in the lineup is over after one night:
Os lineup vs Rays. McLouth 7, Machado 5, Davis 3, Jones 8, Markakis 9, Wieters 2 , Hardy 6, Flaherty 4, Roberts DH. Gonzalez 1.— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) August 20, 2013
This is the lineup against Rays righty Alex Cobb. No one on the Orioles has faced him more than six times, so there's little to be gleaned from looking at the batter-pitcher matchups. The only one with an extra-base hit off of Cobb is Matt Wieters, who hit a homer.
Markakis is back in fifth, and I don't know why. He last had an extra-base hit on July 19. It has been more than a month now. How would you like to see the lineup against a right-handed pitcher? Markakis could sit in seventh on a regular basis, with switch-hitting Wieters batting fifth and Hardy sixth, and Roberts could bat eighth, keeping the lefty-righty stagger option intact.
#Rays lineup: Jennings cf, Zobrist 2b, longoria 3b, Joyce LF, Myers rf, Loney 1b, Escobar SS, Molina c, Johnson DH, Cobb p— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 20, 2013
Rays hitters have seen a little more of O's starter Miguel Gonzalez, and there are hitters with some good outcomes against him. Leadoff man Desmond Jennings has two home runs in 13 at-bats, with a .231 batting average but a 1.005 OPS. Evan Longoria (12 PA, 1.053 OPS) and Jose Molina (8 PA, 1.125 OPS) also have hit home runs off Gonzalez.
Cobb is no slouch this year. He has a 2.94 ERA in 88.2 innings pitched. But the Orioles lost too many games that they should have won against inferior teams. If they want their playoff dreams to stay alive, they will now have to win the tough games against tough teams. They've passed the point where they can make excuses. Now they just have to win.