Game 135: Orioles (71-63) @ Yankees (72-63), 1:05

Jared Wickerham

The Orioles once again find themselves trying to avoid a sweep. They play the Yankees on Sunday afternoon. Wei-Yin Chen starts for Baltimore, with Andy Pettitte starting for New York.

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If you're out there still dreaming of the playoffs, just forget about it. Don't even sweat the scenarios any more. They are out there, the scenarios, it's true, but you shouldn't even think about them. Here's a scenario for you: the Orioles would need to go 22-6 in their final 28 games to equal last year's record. Getting to 90 wins would only take a 19-9 record, but does 90 wins even get them into the playoffs?

Does this team have either a 19-9 or 22-6 run in them? Over the first five months of the season, they have given us absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe they can perform at that level for a whole month, so that's that. Sorry.

But winning most of their remaining games would still be nice. Play for pride and all that. Maybe play to beat the Rays and the Red Sox and possibly knock them out of playoff spots. Play because 86 wins is nicer than 81. That's about where we're at.

Wei-Yin Chen returns from his non-assignment to the Gulf Coast League to start in Sunday's game. A variety of other roster moves have been made, including the addition of Chris Snyder and Steve Clevenger to the 25-man roster. Why do you need four catchers? You don't! Which is why Taylor Teagarden was designated for assignment. How cold is it to DFA a guy on September 1 when he was already on the major league roster? But you could have guessed Clevenger was the future Teagarden replacement when he was acquired. Now it's official.

These moves are made optimistically, giving the O's flexibility in setting their playoff roster if they make it to the playoffs, but they won't. It's nice they're planning just in case. It's good to be prepared. The kind of run needed to get there just isn't happening.

A win today against the Yankees would still be nice, though. It's Andy Pettitte against Chen. August was the best month of the season for Pettitte, with him sporting a 3.04 ERA for the month in five starts. He is a soft-tossing lefty, so if you're out there entertaining the notion that this game could be one of the 19 or 22 wins the Orioles need, well... bless you.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES NEW YORK YANKEES
Nick Markakis (L) - RF Brett Gardner (L) - CF
Manny Machado (R) - 3B Derek Jeter (R) - DH
Adam Jones (R) - CF Robinson Cano (L) - 2B
Chris Davis (L) - 1B Alfonso Soriano (R) - LF
Michael Morse (R) - LF Alex Rodriguez (R) - 3B
Danny Valencia (R) - DH Vernon Wells (R) - RF
Matt Wieters (S) - C Mark Reynolds (R) - 1B
J.J. Hardy (R) - SS Eduardo Nunez (R) - SS
Brian Roberts (S) - 2B Chris Stewart (R) - C

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