Here is a sentence to savor: tonight's game features the first-place Baltimore Orioles taking on the last-place Boston Red Sox. One wonders if the usual rodents will appear at Camden Yards for tonight's contest. It's entirely possible the Northern Virginia pink hat coalition has exchanged their Bs for curly Ws.
One curiosity about tonight's game is that it's a rematch of the starting pitchers of the 17-inning marathon game from May 6. Clay Buchholz takes on Tommy Hunter. Does that mean anything? Probably not, but there are a lot of meaningless statistics that it's cool to notice in baseball. I think ESPN's Jayson Stark makes a living off of that sort of thing.
Buchholz is the worst starter, in ERA terms, who has the qualifying number of innings pitched. He's sporting a 7.77 ERA. There is not much relief in the peripherals for Clay. His walk rate is a Gregg-esque 4.70 per 9 innings. With a K/9 of only 5.11, that leaves Buchholz with a K/BB ratio of not much more than 1, which is really, really not good. Also, he has allowed ten home runs in only 44 innings pitched. Up against the MLB-leading team in home runs hit, that's a poor omen for the pitcher whose career was launched by a no-hitter against the Orioles. Perhaps in the end they will say that it was the Orioles who welcomed Buchholz into MLB and it will be the Orioles who usher him out of it.
On the other hand, there is Hunter. He is a very Orioles pitcher, a term that no one should consider complimentary. His 4.78 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in 49 innings pitched would have been right at home in any Orioles team over the past decade. One thing we can say about Hunter is that he eats some innings, averaging a little over 6 per game started. Not a good matchup against the team that's scored the most runs in the American League, though.
The Red Sox offense is all that has saved them from being the laughingstock of the league. They have scored 10 or more runs in 8 of their 20 wins. They have continued scoring runs in bunches even with a revolving door of players due to injuries. Their right fielder tonight is someone named Che-Hsuan Lin, whose name sounds like the kind of player that Dan Duquette would get Orioles scouts banned from a country's baseball games for trying to sign. Lin is from Taiwan. He has appeared in two games and has yet to have a plate appearance. If I was trying to break in to the big leagues, I think Hunter is exactly who I would want to see on the mound.
Dating back to last season, the O's have won 8 of 10 from the Red Sox, but the tide can turn tonight. A much better outcome for O's fans would be to send the Sox back into oblivion, where they will be surrounded by the circular firing squad that is the Boston sports media. Maybe they can start tonight.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Xavier Avery - LF||Mike Aviles - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||David Ortiz - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Will Middlebrooks - 3B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Daniel Nava - LF|
|Nick Johnson - DH||Marlon Byrd - CF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Che-Hsuan Lin - RF|