Orioles @ Red Sox lineups and game preview, and who to root for in the A.L. tonight

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Orioles possibly sweep the Boston Red Sox? We'll find out tonight.

Lineups

Baltimore Orioles
1. Nate McLouth (L) LF
2. Manny Machado (R) 3B
3. Chris Davis (L) 1B
4. Adam Jones (R) CF
5. Nick Markakis (L) RF
6. Danny Valencia (R) DH
7. Matt Wieters (S) C
8. J.J. Hardy (R) SS
9. Brian Roberts (S) 2B

Boston Red Sox
1. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
2. Daniel Nava (S) RF
3. David Ortiz (L) DH
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Mike Carp (L) LF
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) C
7. Will Middlebrooks (R) 3B
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS
9. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF


Starting Pitchers

John Lackey is starting for the Red Sox tonight, his fourth start against the Orioles this season. Lackey is having a good season with a 3.56 ERA, 3.73 FIP, and 1.193 WHIP. Here are his starts against the O's in 2013:

Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
Jun 15 BOS @ BAL W,5-4 7.0 7 2 2 1 4 0 101
Jul 26 BOS @ BAL L,0-6 6.1 9 5 5 1 2 3 105
Aug 28 BOS BAL W,4-3 7.1 7 3 3 1 4 2 92

I'll be honest, I don't have a lot of faith in the O's ability to knock Lackey around, even though they did it once this year. But I didn't think they had much of a chance in the first two games, so it's possible I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Chris Tillman has faced the Red Sox four times already this season and he's been pretty freaking good. In 25 1/3 total innings he has allowed just four runs and only one home run, which seems impossible. That's a 1.42 ERA against them, and he's struck out 24 against 9 walks. Not bad. Here are his season stats broken down by game:

Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
Apr 11 BAL @ BOS W,3-2 5.1 6 2 2 2 5 0 101
Jun 14 BAL BOS W,2-0 6.0 3 0 0 4 3 0 106
Jul 26 BAL BOS W,6-0 7.0 2 0 0 3 8 0 115
Aug 29 BAL @ BOS W,3-2 7.0 6 2 2 0 8 1 111

Wild Card Games of Interest

Houston Astros @ Cleveland Indians, 7:10 pm
Dallas Keuchel vs Ubaldo Jimenez

Yes, that's right. As the Orioles try to fight their way to a playoff spot against the Boston Red Sox tonight and Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, the Indians are starting a four-game series against a team that already has 101 losses with ten games still to play. We're rooting for the Astros, of course, but it seems futile.The Indians are currently 1/2 game ahead of the Orioles in the WC standings.

New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays, 7:07 pm
Hiroki Kuroda vs Todd Redmond

The Yankees are currently 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the WC standings, so they are pretty much out of it. But we're still rooting for the Blue Jays because 1) it's not over 'til it's over, and 2) it's fun to root against the Yankees.

Texas Rangers @ Tampa Bay Rays, 7:10 pm
Yu Darvish vs Matt Moore

It's a pitching matchup to die for down in Tampa as the Rays try to take three out of four in the series and the Rangers try to get out of town with a split. The Rays are currently two games ahead of the Orioles and hold the first wild card slot, while the Rangers are one game ahead and in possession of the second slot.

There has been disagreement about who to root for in this situation. If the Orioles win tonight, a win by the Rays would leave the O's two games behind them and tied with Texas (not necessarily in the second WC spot, that could belong to Cleveland if they win). A win by the Rangers would leave them one game behind both teams. My opinion remains the same: root for the Rays because that takes care of the Rangers, then beat the crap out of the Rays this weekend to over take them in the WC. If Cleveland weren't in the mix I might think differently, but they are and as such the Orioles have two teams they need to jump to get into the playoffs.

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