Game 131: Orioles (70-60) @ Red Sox (78-55), 7:10

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles inch closer and closer to the time where they need to put up or shut up. They take on the Red Sox on Tuesday, with John Lackey pitching for Boston and Bud Norris pitching for the O's.

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They need to go on a run, we have been saying for weeks, and it's true that they do. Unfortunately, it seems like the only runs the Orioles go on are the ones that are in the wrong direction. Getting blown out 13-2 in a game where they needed to make a statement against the Red Sox is not encouraging.

No worries, though, because Bud Norris is starting tonight. The Orioles have won every game that he has started, although he has a 5.53 ERA as an Orioles starter, which isn't exactly good. They'll just need to keep up that level of run support against... John Lackey, really? Yeah, he's only having one of the better seasons for an AL starter in terms of his ERA, a 3.17 in 23 starts. Somehow he has an 8-11 record with that ERA. Perhaps his teammates hate him.

Lefty batters have an .891 OPS against Norris this year. 14 of the 15 home runs he has surrendered have been hit by left-handed batters. Can you guess how many of these are in Boston's lineup tonight? There will be six, which includes three switch-hitters. One of the lefties is David Ortiz, who sports a totally not-suspicious .316/.397/.568 slash line this season. Let's not forget in that tally the one destroyed dugout phone, which he assaulted with a weapon that is prone to splitting into dangerous fragments in close proximity to his teammates.

There's not a whole lot new to say about the O's at this point. They are who they are, an aggressive bunch of hackers who sometimes get themselves out again and again and sometimes hit all of the home runs. A shaky, fly ball, homer-prone starting rotation and an overworked bullpen. We know this, and we still hope they will go on a run. 20-12 gets them to 90 wins - does 90 wins get into the playoffs?

A month remains, and a lot of baseball happens in a month. But if the playoffs are going to happen again, it needs to be very much a winning month.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES BOSTON RED SOX
Nate McLouth (L) - LF Jacoby Ellsbury (L) - CF
Manny Machado (R) - 3B Shane Victorino (S) - RF
Chris Davis (L) - 1B Dustin Pedroia (R) - 2B
Adam Jones (R) - CF David Ortiz (L) - DH
Nick Markakis (L) - RF Daniel Nava (S) - LF
J.J. Hardy (R) - SS Mike Napoli (R) - 1B
Matt Wieters (S) - C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) - C
Wilson Betemit (S) - DH Stephen Drew (L) - SS
Brian Roberts (S) - 2B Xander Bogaerts (R) - 3B

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