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Game 142: Yankees (87-54) @ Orioles (56-85), 1:05pm

This man really needs to have a better day.
This man really needs to have a better day.

The game that was originally scheduled for some time in April will finally be played this afternoon. For the Yankees and the Orioles, it'll feel like the end of a four-game series, since they've only just seen each other. For fans, it'll be a continuation of a bizarre universe where there have been three day games in that stretch of time, and the fourth game ended in the morning hours. I have it on good authority that Stacey is already getting the shakes from not being able to watch so many games in a row.

One day removed from double forfeit lineups, the Yanks are getting serious again, which is understandable since their AL East lead is only 2.5 games. The Orioles... well, look, it's no more of a forfeit lineup than they've sent out all year, with Vladimir Guerrero being the cleanup hitter in like 85% of Orioles games. But wait, Vlad is 4-6 with a home run off today's Yankee starter, Ivan Nova! So of course he has to bat cleanup today. Now it makes perfect sense, if you're the kind of person who thinks a sampling of six at-bats is remotely meaningful, and I hope you aren't because if you are then we'd have to laugh at you.

Nova is sporting a 3.89 ERA, and despite this he's got himself a 15-4 record. Some people are clamoring for him to be the ROY. You can probably guess what my opinion is of those people. He's faced the O's twice this year, going seven innings each time and giving up a total of five earned runs. The Yanks have won the last twelve games started by Nova. They have scored at least six runs in eight of those games, so, go figure.

Every game needs subplots to watch. Here are some for today: Can Mark Reynolds rebound from a golden sombrero? Can Chris Davis rebound from a platinum sombrero? (Probably not.) Can Chris Davis rebound from being Chris Davis at third base? (Probably not.) Can Alfredo Simon fire off a second straight quality start against the Yankees? Will some Yankee fan sitting in the seats at Camden Yards interfere with a fly ball, and will the umpires use video replay and still call it a home run? Anything can happen, but for the 2011 O's, most of those possible anythings are not good outcomes.

In some sense, winning and losing doesn't matter at this point, because the Orioles are bad either way. To this fan, though, winning against the Yankees always matters because there are few better things than to stick it to those smug pinstriped douchebags. So, Simon, don't suck. Hitters, don't suck. Chris Davis, ... look, your mom will be very proud of you no matter what.