Game 160: Red Sox (96-63) @ Orioles (83-76), 7:05

Al Messerschmidt

It's the final Friday game of the season. The homeless baseball team comes into town to play the Orioles for three games. Clay Buchholz gets the start for those schmucks, with Scott Feldman starting for the O's.

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Really, though, how *are* the Boston Red Sox 13 games ahead of the Orioles in the standings this year? Looking at the statistics of players on their team, it's a testament to a very strong Satanic pact, perhaps one even stronger than anything that has ever fueled the Yankees.

What else could be the explanation for Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia blowing up in contract years? Daniel Nava, at age 30, posting one of the highest on-base percentages in the league? Mike Carp slugging over .500? David Ortiz not being mentioned daily as a PED suspect, as he slugs .561 at the age of 37 while doing something like destroying a dugout phone with a baseball bat?

Whatever it is, it is not natural, we can be almost certain of that. This roster of ugly, bearded schmucks will take the field in Baltimore for the final series of the season, looking to secure home field advantage through the whole postseason.

The stakes aren't as dramatic as in 2011, when the Orioles could knock them out of the playoffs, but it would be nice if they could thumb their noses at this red tide, just a little bit. To do that, they will probably need to win two out of three games in the series.

Game one features Scott Feldman starting against Clay Buchholz, so, you know, good luck with that.

After two wins in a row using a forfeit lineup - though they were, in fairness, playing a forfeit team - the O's return to something more conventional, or at least vaguely so, and no, I don't know why Nick Markakis is batting second. I don't know anything except that I hope the Red Sox lose tonight and Chris Davis hits four home runs in the process. Then he can do that again tomorrow and the next day too.

Brian Roberts (S) - DH Jacoby Ellsbury (L) - CF
Nick Markakis (L) - RF Dustin Pedroia (R) - 2B
Adam Jones (R) - CF David Ortiz (L) - DH
Chris Davis (L) - 1B Mike Napoli (R) - 1B
Matt Wieters (S) - C Daniel Nava (S) - RF
J.J. Hardy (R) - SS Jonny Gomes (R) - LF
Nate McLouth (L) - LF Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) - C
Jonathan Schoop (R) - 2B Stephen Drew (L) - SS
Ryan Flaherty (L) - 3B Will Middlebrooks (R) - 3B

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