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Game 96: Orioles (51-44) @ Indians (47-48), 7:05pm

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The last time we saw Tommy Hunter, he did not suck. Can he make it two games in a row - and if he does, will the O's hitters make that matter? Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
The last time we saw Tommy Hunter, he did not suck. Can he make it two games in a row - and if he does, will the O's hitters make that matter? Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The weekend is over, and the Orioles are still in Cleveland. They have already won the series and will be going for the sweep tonight. Last night, Steve Melewski noted on Twitter that the last time the O's swept four games against the Indians in Cleveland was 1971, a series during which Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson and Jim Palmer all earned their 20th wins. Well, I'd much rather have a comparison to a year in which the O's made it to the World Series than have one that goes to 2005.

Ah, but getting that sweep... well. The first of five straight quality starts was notched by Five Runs All Earned Tommy Hunter, and now it's his turn again. Can he make it six in a row with both quality starts and victories for the O's? That would really be something. He is capable of having a good game here and there, but he is more likely to not have good games because he is Tommy Hunter. Additionally, he gives up a lot of home runs and he is right-handed and Cleveland has good left-handed hitters, so, you know - uphill battle.

Speaking of uphill battles, it'll be the Orioles offense against Justin Masterson for most of the game, unless they manage to knock him out early, which, well, that's not generally in the O's repertoire. Groundball pitcher (bad for team that leads in GIDP), still gets a 7.07 K/9 (bad for team that's 4th in Ks on offense), walk rate on the high side, but who cares if you walk if the next guy is going to GIDP, plus does anyone on the Orioles care about walking other than Jim Thome? Who even knows?

But maybe Hunter will have a good night, Masterson will have a bad night and the Orioles offense will also have a good night and we can all end up celebrating a sixth straight victory, continued wild card presence and all kinds of other stuff. Weirder things have happened than this so far this season, like, as I told Andrew last night, the entirety of the first 95 games the Orioles have played. Many pixels were spent today talking about the Orioles' run differential, and I think one thing we can all agree on is that if the Orioles are going to find themselves contending, it will be because the weirdness continues, not because they suddenly improve and start blowing out teams.

Oh yeah, and speaking of weird, Ichiro got traded to the Yankees.

Self-promotion alert: I posted about the O's, specifically Dan Duquette's tinkering in the margins, for the WNST contest today. If you could help me out by clicking on that link and hitting the FB share, tweet and/or +1 buttons, that would really be awesome of you.


Lineup

BALTIMORE ORIOLES CLEVELAND INDIANS
Nick Markakis - RF Shin-Soo Choo - RF
Endy Chavez - LF Asdrubal Cabrera - SS
Jim Thome - DH Jason Kipnis - 2B
Adam Jones - CF Michael Brantley - CF
Matt Wieters - C Carlos Santana - C
Wilson Betemit - 3B Travis Hafner - DH
Chris Davis - 1B Johnny Damon - LF
Ryan Flaherty - 2B Casey Kotchman - 1B
Omar Quintanilla - SS Jack Hannahan - 3B

Man, that lineup... good grief.