Freakin' Matt Tuiasosopo and Luke French? Seriously?
Sorry, I just had to get that one off my chest one last time.
The rubber game of this series is up tonight and, at least according to ESPN's "Accuscore" simulation machine, the Orioles are 55-45 favorites to emerge the victors tonight. I'm not sure whether or not this constitutes a good omen, because I've noticed it listing the O's as favorites a few times throughout this season and I don't believe they've won any of those games yet. This includes last night, but then again... okay, I'm keeping my promise not to say it again.
Today's a new day, so yesterday doesn't matter. Today we get to go up against David Pauley, who spent last year in the Orioles' system but never appeared for the big club. Pauley has a few big league appearances dating back to 2006 but has yet to be in the majors in an odd year. As for this year, he was summoned from AAA at the end of June and has gone between the bullpen and the rotation in that time. He'll be making his seventh start of the year and has yet to throw even a hundred pitches, or go more than six innings, in any of those outings. I approve of any scenario that gets us closer to discovering the next Eric O'Flaherty out of the Seattle bullpen. Having seen Brandon League for more than an inning in the past two games, we can safely say it isn't him. Fortunately, he probably won't be available tonight.
For the Orioles, it's Jeremy Guthrie. In his last start against Tampa Bay, he lived up to his "Guts" nickname by somehow blanking the Rays through six innings despite throwing only 55 of his 102 pitches for strikes. If that's what he can do without his best command, let's hope that tonight he is on his game and doing even better than that. However, homer-prone Guthrie will have to beware of the uppercut swing of Russell Branyan, which, when it connects, will hit baseballs a long way, as we saw on Monday. Branyan, by the way, is hitting a paltry .152 in August, yet still getting on base at a .361 clip for the month. His .331 OBP on the season is higher than seven of the nine Orioles who started last night - everyone except Nick Markakis and Luke Scott.
Seattle's pretty bad, and even under Buck, we're still pretty bad. What depths of baseball depravity might be plumbed tonight? There's only one way to find out. Go O's!
08/18/10 7:05 PM EDT
|Seattle Mariners||Baltimore Orioles|
|Ichiro Suzuki - RF||Brian Roberts - 2B|
|Chone Figgins - 2B||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Russell Branyan - DH||Ty Wigginton - 1B|
|Jose Lopez - 3B||Luke Scott - DH|
|Franklin Gutierrez - CF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Casey Kotchman - 1B||Felix Pie - LF|
|Adam Moore - C||Matt Wieters - C|
|Matt Tuiasosopo - LF||Cesar Izturis - SS|
|Josh Wilson - SS||Josh Bell - 3B|