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Game 111: Royals (47-63) @ Orioles (60-51), 7:05pm

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Here are some facts. Today is August 9th and the Baltimore Orioles are nine games over .500. They are tied for the lead in the Wild Card race, and are just 4.5 games out of first place in the American League East. If that's not enough, they've just called up prospect Manny Machado, who will be playing third base and batting ninth in tonight's game against the Kansas City Royals.

With just 51 games left in the regular season, it's starting to feel like a real possibility that the Orioles are going to be contending for a playoff spot right down to the end of the year, and it's a feeling I'm entirely unfamiliar with. And if the Baltimore Orioles are going to be the kind of team that contends, this is the sort of game they need to win. They are playing a last-place team who is sending to the mound a bad starting pitcher, and they are countering with the best pitcher in their rotation.

I'm pretty excited about tonight's game. I'm excited to see Chen pitch, and to see Machado play the field and hit. I'm looking forward to seeing if the Orioles move to 4 games out of first place, if Matt Wieters will keep up his recent hot streak. I can't wait to see Nick Markakis bat leadoff.

It's August, and I'm excited for Orioles baseball. It feels good.


Lineup

BALTIMORE ORIOLES KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Nick Markakis - RF Alex Gordon - LF
J.J. Hardy - SS Alcides Escobar - SS
Adam Jones - CF Lorenzo Cain - CF
Matt Wieters - C Billy Butler - DH
Lew Ford - LF Salvador Perez - C
Mark Reynolds - 1B Mike Moustakas - 3B
Chris Davis - DH Jeff Francoeur - RF
Robert Andino - 2B Eric Hosmer - 1B
Manny Machado -3B Chris Getz - 2B