The AL East-loaded stretch of games to close out the season rolls on. After dropping two out of three to Boston, the Orioles will host the Rays for a three-game series in Baltimore. Whereas Boston is mostly out of the hunt, the Rays are right in the thick of everything. They're 1.5 games behind the Yankees for the AL East with hopes of surmounting them for the division - but at 6.5 games ahead of Boston for the wild card are probably secure there. Anybody who says it's OK if the Orioles lose because it means the Rays don't lose ground to the Yankees is going to be punched in the testicles. If you don't have testicles, you will be punched in the ovaries. You have been warned.
With a tough loss last night, the O's will be looking to rebound. This will be something of an uphill battle, because they will be up against Matt Garza, who has a 5-0 career record at Camden Yards. Garza's not mind-blowingly good with his 3.53 ERA, but that's better than the entire Orioles rotation, which isn't too surprising. The only Oriole with sustained good numbers against Garza is Adam Jones and he's probably not playing after having had to receive a cortisone shot in his hurt shoulder.
I've got to say, I have a hard time mustering the kind of smoldering fury that was unleashed upon the Red Sox when it comes to the Rays. Really the worst thing you can say about Garza is that he has really douchey facial hair. A big strike against him, to be sure. I mean, just look at it. Douchey McDoucherson.
Ask yourselves: who's the last person you want to see starting tonight? If you're like me and you said Kevin Millwood, then prepare for disappointment. Let's try to find something hopeful to say. Four out of his last five starts have been quality starts. The one start he's had against the Rays this year was Opening Day, where he went five innings and gave up two runs. That feels like it was five years ago now. The only Rays batter with good numbers off him is Carlos Pena. So that's something.
And hey, the Trop still sucks and Camden Yards is still awesome. We've got them in at least one category. Go O's!
09/03/10 7:05 PM EDT
|Tampa Bay Rays||Baltimore Orioles|
|John Jaso - C||Brian Roberts - 2B|
|Ben Zobrist - 2B||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Carl Crawford - LF||Ty Wigginton - 1B|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||Luke Scott - DH|
|Carlos Pena - 1B||Felix Pie - LF|
|Matt Joyce - RF||Corey Patterson - CF|
|Dan Johnson - DH||Matt Wieters - C|
|B.J. Upton - CF||Cesar Izturis - SS|
|Reid Brignac - SS||Josh Bell - 3B|