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GameThread: Orioles (61-94) @ Rays (93-62), 7:10pm

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We are at last down to the final week of the regular season for baseball, and I'm sad to see it coming to an end. I never could have fathomed that I would come to feel that way about this season, because seriously, there were some dark times in those April-July months. On the whole, the Buck era's got me looking forward to baseball again, current four-game losing streak notwithstanding.

The O's enter this final week of the season needing to go 2-5 in their final seven games to avoid that 100 loss that holds such significance due to the base-ten counting system that we hold dear due to the evolutionary reality of having ten fingers and ten toes. Starting tonight, we'll have three games against the Rays, followed by four at home to close the season against the Tigers.

Promising Brian Matusz is starting for the Orioles tonight. Matusz, like seemingly everyone else on the roster, has generally been playing better the last couple of months, which has been good to see. Unfortunately, his only bad start in August was against the Rays, when he gave up five earned runs in only four innings in the Trop. The four Rays batters who have at least 10 PA against him have all gotten on base at a .400 clip or better. I hate when statistics are depressing. I promise I was trying to be optimistic.

Wade Davis is pitching for the Rays. In his last start, he left after 2.1 innings due to an extended rain delay, so he'll either be fresh or rusty. Maybe some of both. This will be his third start against the O's this season, and he's had a good one (8 IP, 1 ER in July) and a not-so-good one (5 IP, 4 ER in September). The July lineup featured Felix Pie leading off, Miguel Tejada batting second, Ty Wigginton at cleanup, and also had Scott Moore and Craig Tatum. So, you know... that probably explains a lot - although Tater racked up two hits, and so did Cesar Izturis. Baseball is a funny game.

The Rays come into tonight's game clinging to a half-game lead over the Yankees for the AL East. The other team is virtually guaranteed the wild card, but nonetheless, it's something to play for. The Orioles have little to play for in that sense, but I think we know that Buck won't let them roll over for anybody. And at least we're finally out of Canada. By request of Wieters Wieners from today's Bird Droppings, and to satisfy my own curiosity, I've included a poll with this post. Consider any external circumstances that your fan conscience will allow you to apply.

Go O's!


Lineup

Baltimore Orioles @ Tampa Bay Rays

09/27/10 7:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Rays
Brian Roberts - 2B B.J. Upton - CF
Nick Markakis - RF Jason Bartlett - SS
Ty Wigginton - 3B Carl Crawford - LF
Luke Scott - 1B Willy Aybar - DH
Corey Patterson - DH Ben Zobrist - RF
Adam Jones - CF Kelly Shoppach - C
Matt Wieters - C Carlos Pena - 1B
Felix Pie - LF Sean Rodriguez - 2B
Cesar Izturis - SS Dan Johnson - 3B

Poll

Who are you rooting for to win tonight's game?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Orioles
    (71 votes)
  • 7%
    Rays
    (6 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now