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GameThread: Angels (54-53) @ Orioles (32-73), 7:05pm

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Feels like we've been waiting for this day forever, doesn't it? At long last, today's the first game for new, actual manager Buck Showalter, who comes along with a reputation for kicking butts, taking names and turning teams around. I think we can all agree that there are some butts on this team that need to be kicked and we'll have the last two months of this season to see what Buck can make of the guys who are going to be sticking around for a while.

With how much the Orioles have already sucked this year, it's unlikely to see instant results, but at least Buck's debut game features our starting pitcher who's least likely to be terrible in Jeremy Guthrie. Guts leads the team in innings pitched and quality starts - not that the offense has supported him much, leading to a 4-11 record. He also leads O's starters in ERA (4.23) and WHIP (1.27).

Tonight kicks off a three-game series at Camden Yards against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County California, United States of America, whom I will henceforth refer to on occasion as LAAAOCCAUSA. The LAAOCCAUSA are a disappointing eight games back of Texas and lately going in the wrong direction. Facing the Orioles is probably a good way to change that, but hey: it's a new day, right? Taking the mound for LAAAOCCAUSA is Trevor Bell, making only his second start of the season. Bell's been on the Anaheim-Salt Lake City shuttle for most of the season and has done most of his work for the Angels in relief, with 16 appearances. Bell's ERA of 6.46 looks really bad but the more advanced metrics are much more forgiving with a FIP of 3.03 and an xFIP of 4.04.

This is usually where I'd crack a joke about how tonight's the night we're going to get no-hit, but I'm not doing it tonight. It's Christmas in August; Santa Claus is real and his name is Buck Showalter. He doesn't even need a beard, which is fortunate since Orioles aren't allowed to have beards anyway. So stay frosty, Birdland, because better times are on the way, and tonight we get our first taste of it. Go O's!


Lineup

Los Angeles Angels @ Baltimore Orioles

08/03/10 7:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels Baltimore Orioles
Erick Aybar - SS Brian Roberts - 2B
Maicer Izturis - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Bobby Abreu - LF Ty Wigginton - 1B
Torii Hunter - RF Luke Scott - DH
Hideki Matsui - DH Adam Jones - CF
Alberto Callaspo - 3B Felix Pie - LF
Howie Kendrick - 1B Matt Wieters - C
Mike Napoli - C Josh Bell - 3B
Peter Bourjos - CF Cesar Izturis - SS

Peter Bourjos is making his major league debut for the Angels. There are some excited people at Halos Heaven but hopefully today there will be a damper on their joy. Sorry, guys. This is our day.

(Pretty please, Orioles, just this once, don't make me look stupid. Please don't usher in the new era with a 20-0 drubbing. That's all I ask. Thanks.)