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GameThread: Orioles (41-75) @ Rays (69-46), 4:10pm

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Orioles. Rays. IT'S THE MLB ON FOX!!!!

It feels like it's been forever since we've gotten a Fox game. We can only hope that doesn't mean we get the Buck/McCarver combo as part of the experience. But it's nice to get some national recognition, even if the recognition is that this season sucks horribly and they're probably really just there for the Rays, who are underdog darlings since their 2008 run. You can't argue with 9-2 under Buck, though. At the end of last night's MASN telecast, Jim Hunter noted that this is the best 11-game stretch since April of 2005. Who could have ever imagined we'd be pining for the halcyon days of Lee Mazzilli?

Today's pitching matchup sets Brian Matusz against the Rays' Andy Sonnanstine. Brian has had some real whoppers during the course of the season but he's been a new pitcher since Buck arrived. Much as I've advanced the notion that Buck is responsible for all things good that have transpired in games since assuming the helm, I'm honestly stumped at how he could be responsible for the starting rotation firing off 10 quality starts in 11 games. Yet the more things hold together, the more likely it seems that Buck was holding some secret in his head to the 90% of baseball that is half-mental and in bestowing it upon the hapless O's he has granted the team some kind of birdvana.

Today is only the second start of the year for Sonnanstine, as he's spent much of it working out of the bullpen. Luke Scott likes the sound of a right-handed pitcher who's allowed 9 home runs in 54 innings, although in 15 career PAs against Sonnanstine he has only mustered a .231 average thus far. On the other hand, Brian Roberts has a .480 OBP in 25 PA and Adam Jones has a ridiculous 2.292 OPS in an admittedly limited sample of 9 PA. Let's hope for some teeing off and maybe even hope for something crazy like hits with runners in scoring position.

With a win today, the O's would seal their fourth straight series win for the first time since the 2004 season. No wonder I feel like I've forgotten what a prolonged stretch of good baseball feels like. By the way, the Orioles are now a scant 4 games behind Seattle for the third-worst record in the majors. The longer the Buck magic lasts, the closer we will get. I like the sound of that. Go O's!


Lineup

Baltimore Orioles @ Tampa Bay Rays

08/14/10 4:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Rays
Brian Roberts - 2B B.J. Upton - CF
Nick Markakis - RF Jason Bartlett - SS
Ty Wigginton - 1B Carl Crawford - LF
Luke Scott - DH Evan Longoria - 3B
Adam Jones - CF Willy Aybar - DH
Felix Pie - LF Sean Rodriguez - 2B
Matt Wieters - C Ben Zobrist - 1B
Cesar Izturis - SS Kelly Shoppach - C
Josh Bell - 3B Gabe Kapler - RF