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Game 138: Orioles (55-82) @ Rays (75-63), 1:40pm

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This Oriol (Servia) probably has a better chance of victory in the Grand Prix today than the O's do of winning in TB.
This Oriol (Servia) probably has a better chance of victory in the Grand Prix today than the O's do of winning in TB.

In a lost season, I guess it's to be expected that some time in September ought to be spent evaluating organizational talent to see what there is that's been sitting in AAA all season. One could probably inquire why the Orioles sign the likes of Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee, which has impeded this process all season, but whatever. A season where it's not even Labor Day and the O's have clinched their 14th-straight losing season is definitely a lost season.

Could they at least pretend they want to try to win, though? If only a little bit. There's no looking at a lineup where Matt Angle is leading off, with Kyle Hudson in right field, Nick Markakis at first base and Mark Reynolds at third, then concluding that the O's are making every effort to win this game today. Plus Tater is in there. If you guessed that Jeremy Guthrie is the starting pitcher, you're absolutely correct! It seems like a lineup like that could only happen when Guthrie is starting.

This lineup is like a sacrifice at the altar of Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays. Oh, hey, look at that - it's a battle of the Jeremys today. Isn't that adorable? If you look only at ERA, there's a pretty big gulf. Hellickson's got a 3.01 ERA in 155.1 IP, with Guthrie sitting at 4.42 ERA over 177 IP. With a K/9 of about 6 and a BB/9 of over 3, Hellickson doesn't look that scary. What's the secret to his success? Probably has something to do with the .237 BABIP allowed, when the league average is .291. That .237 mark is actually the 2nd-lowest in MLB - #1 is Josh Beckett of Boston, with .236. Hey, how crazy is this? The two teams with the best fielding numbers in the AL each have a pitcher 1-2 in BABIP. Who would have guessed it?

Unrelated to this particular game, Justin Verlander's 3rd in that BABIP allowed, with .238. Verlander has one of the worst defenses in MLB behind him, although it's not quite Orioles-bad. He's already thrown 223 innings. Give that man the Cy Young.

Well, if the O's are going to spend the day evaluating unproven stuff, I can do the same. The inaugural edition of the Baltimore Grand Prix will be on the Versus network with coverage starting at 2pm. There is a racer in there whose name is Oriol. He probably has the best chance of being a winning Oriole today.