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GameThread: Orioles (28-59) @ Rangers (50-37), 3:05pm

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If you've been taking a much-needed few days off from closely following the Orioles ahead of the All-Star Break, no one is going to blame you. We could win the next 30 games in a row and still be below a .500 record. We've been bombarded with all the potentially-legendary-bad stories all season long. This bizarre series is guaranteed to be the O's first winning series on the road yet this year, regardless of today's result.

Jake Arrieta starts today for the Birds. He's a product of Texas Christian University so maybe that makes this something of a hometown start for him. I actually have no idea if TCU is near Dallas-Ft. Worth and I don't really care because the state of Texas offends me on a metaphysical level so I'm not going to bother to look it up.

Of his six big league starts, Jake's had two good ones, and both came on the road, so that's encouraging. He's coming off a no-decision in Detroit because the bullpen picked that night to throw gasoline onto his solid performance and light it on fire. It will be the first time he's ever seen the Rangers. If his command is shaky and Rangers batters are able to sit back and wait until he grooves one, it could be a long day. The bullpen could probably still use a rest after the first two games so Jake's early tendency for too many three-ball counts may also lead to bad things in this game.

Taking the mound for Texas is C.J. Wilson, who's made the transition this season from forgettable bullpen piece to solid starter. With a .212 BAA on his 17 starts this season, we are pretty much doomed.

Most interesting subplot of today's game: Orioles pitchers have been brushing back Vladimir Guerrero consistently in the first three games of this series. Will the Rangers decide to retaliate? Should the situation devolve into fisticuffs, interim manager Juan Samuel might well be the first person out of the dugout.


Lineup

Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers

07/11/10 3:05 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles Texas Rangers
Corey Patterson - LF Julio Borbon - CF
Miguel Tejada - 3B Michael Young - 3B
Nick Markakis - RF Ian Kinsler - 2B
Ty Wigginton - DH Vladimir Guerrero - DH
Adam Jones - CF David Murphy - LF
Jake Fox - 1B Nelson Cruz - RF
Craig Tatum - C Bengie Molina - C
Julio Lugo - 2B Chris Davis - 1B
Cesar Izturis - SS Andres Blanco - SS