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GameThread: Rangers (68-53) @ Orioles (43-80), 4:10pm

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I went to the bar last night after the game, but I ran into last night's home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, so I struck out three times, even though it seemed like guys who aren't as funny or good-looking as me were chatting up the ladies all night, and came home alone after I got bounced. The preceding sentence was facetious.

Somehow we've ended up with another Fox game this week. Today's other Fox games are Angels-Twins and Braves-Cubs, so we probably don't have the "main" game, but still, even C-list Fox is a nice recognition, even if it's probably the Rangers and/or Cliff Lee who are really being recognized. This arrangement sucks for all the out-of-market O's fans who just want to watch a Saturday afternoon game, but I guess you guys are probably used to MLB policies that aren't exactly fan-friendly by now.

About Cliff Lee: he's good. He's also pitching for his fourth team since the start of last season. If I was Lee at this point I might sign an extension with the Rangers just so I could stop having to move around so much. Better be a no-trade clause, of course. Even if he shuts us down today, there will be no tipping of caps. Last time we faced Lee, we scored six runs off of him with a lineup featuring Corey Patterson as the leadoff hitter, Jake Fox at first base, Craig Tatum at catcher and Julio Lugo at second base. Sure, facing him with a better lineup doesn't guarantee victory on a rational level, but what's rational about being an O's fan?

I also kind of want to see the Orioles whip up on Texas every time we play them. I've stated in the past my dislike for Texas in general, but that's more of a simmering annoyance. When it comes to baseball, though, we owe them some karmic payback for 30-3. Straight up: until that day where the Orioles are victorious over the Rangers by 27 or more runs, I will be dreaming. I also won't be holding my breath, so don't worry about me too much.

Brad Bergesen is starting for the Orioles. The good news is he's lowered his ERA by more than a full run in his last four starts. The bad news is his ERA is still 5.80. He hasn't faced Texas yet this season, but as we've seen in the first couple of games, the non-Josh Hamilton portions of their lineup are depleted. Still, guys like Vladimir Guerrero are always dangerous; Elvis Andrus has a better OBP than everyone on our team who isn't named Nick Markakis, and so on.

What worked for the Orioles in that July game against Lee was first pitch hacking. This is in contrast with the prevailing attitude at present, but Lee's that rare pitcher who really doesn't walk a lot of guys, which means he throws strikes, so the first pitch you see really might be the best one you get. Will they employ the same plan today? Will it work if they do? Will Jeff Nelson be involved in any controversial calls at whatever base he's assigned to this afternoon? There's only one way to find out. Go O's!


Lineup

Texas Rangers @ Baltimore Orioles

08/21/10 4:10 PM EDT

Texas Rangers Baltimore Orioles
Elvis Andrus - SS Brian Roberts - 2B
Michael Young - 3B Julio Lugo - SS
Josh Hamilton - LF Nick Markakis - RF
Vladimir Guerrero - DH Ty Wigginton - 1B
David Murphy - RF Luke Scott - DH
Bengie Molina - C Adam Jones - CF
Mitch Moreland - 1B Felix Pie - LF
Andres Blanco - 2B Craig Tatum - C
Julio Borbon - CF Josh Bell - 3B