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Game 48: Royals (22-26) @ Orioles (23-24), 12:35pm

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It's a getaway day, and today's Orioles lineup features Mark Reynolds batting 5th, Jake Fox playing first base and Craig Tatum catching. If you guessed that means that Jeremy Guthrie is the starting pitcher today, congratulations. You win a Camden Chat no-prize. It's worth absolutely nothing, just like Fox.

Okay, that was a little cruel of me, but let's level for a minute here: Fox was supposed to be the backup catcher, only all reports have indicated the team doesn't have a lot of faith in his game-calling abilities. Thus, we now get Tatum. Only we still also have Fox, who is not good at hitting the baseball.

Time out from all the griping. With a chance to sweep today against the Royals, the O's also have a chance to get back to the .500 plateau and record their first five-game winning streak since mid-June of 2009. To do those things, they will have to beat Jeff Francis, whom the O's tagged for five runs in 5.2 IP on May 3. In that game I talked trash about Francis mostly because for the last two years he had a 5+ ERA in the NL West. However, Francis also hasn't allowed a run in 14.2 IP. 7.2 of these were even against St. Louis, the best hitting team in baseball.

The Birds will also have to overcome the fact that they hate Guts, who has a 2-6 record to go with his 3.45 ERA. Based on today's lineup it appears that Buck may also be mad at Guts.

I mentioned this in the Bird Droppings thread today, but it bears repeating: last year the Orioles were 23-53 at one point. This season feels frustrating because of the games we should have won, especially the ones against divisional opponents where bullpen tragedies gave us heartburn. But it's kind of mind-boggling how much better even this seemingly-disappointing season is compared to the last one. Man, we really blew last year.

So, you know what? To hell with Jeff Francis, because it's .500 or bust, baby.