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Game 87: Tigers (45-42) @ Orioles (45-41), 4:05pm

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Let's try to avoid needing to make this face today, Wei-Yin Chen. That would be great.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Let's try to avoid needing to make this face today, Wei-Yin Chen. That would be great. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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With the way the starting rotations lined up after the All-Star Break, the Orioles had their two best pitchers ready to go in the first two games, and the Tigers had two pitchers who aren't Justin Verlander scheduled for their first two games. We saw how that worked out with Jason Hammel yesterday. He may, in fact, be hurt enough to have to go on the DL, in which case the sky will soon fall. Perhaps today it will work out better.

Wei-Yin Chen is on the mound today. It is Jim Palmer statue day, and mostly that means he should avoid giving up a grand slam at all costs. If he could avoid other home runs as well, and in fact anything that allows the Tigers to score runs, that would also be good. Chen's early strong start has fallen back to about league average in terms of ERA, but he can move back into the plus column with a good effort today. Remember, when Chen is on, there will be a lot of lazy fly balls. That is always a dangerous thing for Camden Yards, but Chen's bad starts have tended to be ones where he's giving up a lot of ground balls and also walking batters.

Max Scherzer is the Tigers pitcher. With a 4.72 ERA but an 8-5 ERA, you can tell he plays on a team that scores a lot of runs. Big shock that a lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson would score their share of runs. Jackson has quietly been one of the best players in baseball - overshadowed by Mike Trout, perhaps. He enters today with a .331/.408/.541 batting line. Any time a player is above that holy .300/.400/.500 trinity all across the board, I swoon a little bit. I wonder what it would be like if the Orioles had a player like that. I wonder if I'll ever know.

Ah, the Orioles offense. It's bad, people. I mean, I realize this, but I am still stunned when I look at that team batting line of .239/.301/.400 and it makes me want to weep. This is the biggest thing that needs to turn around with the team. There is no reason to believe that it will turn around. Nearly everyone looks bad. You might not have thought the Orioles were aware that the All-Star Break was over if you watched their bats last night. Unfortunately, if you watched the last game before the break, you probably thought they believed the break had started early.

Nick Markakis is batting leadoff again. He's probably the best choice, although not a great choice. Maybe today they can score some runs before garbage time. That would be good. With Verlander on the mound tomorrow, they sure won't be scoring then.


Lineup

BALTIMORE ORIOLES DETROIT TIGERS
Nick Markakis - RF Austin Jackson - CF
J.J. Hardy - SS Ramon Santiago - 2B
Jim Thome - DH Miguel Cabrera - 3B
Adam Jones - CF Prince Fielder - 1B
Matt Wieters - C Delmon Young - DH
Chris Davis - LF Jhonny Peralta - SS
Mark Reynolds - 1B Ryan Raburn - RF
Wilson Betemit - 3B Gerald Laird - C
Robert Andino - 2B Quintin Berry - LF