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Game 45: Yankees (28-16) @ Orioles (23-21), 7:05


The setting sun shines in on the office of Dan Duquette in the Warehouse. It is otherwise dimly lit. He sits in his chair, surveying the carnage beneath him, occasionally pondering replicas of the World Series trophies.

In the shadows stands a minion. "Dan, blow up the damn team."

"No!" Duquette cries. "Nooooooo!" With great anger, he lays waste to the trophy replicas. "I will not sacrifice the Orioles. We've made too many roster moves already; too many retreats. They invade our stadium and we fall back. They assimilate entire payrolls and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far and no farther!"

The preceding was a reference to Star Trek: First Contact. I am a nerd. Moving right along.

Miguel Gonzalez returns from the disabled list tonight. Will he continue his pattern of making quality starts? He has managed this in four out of his six starts, including the one he had to depart early due to the blister that sent him onto the DL to begin with.

Even a bare minimum quality start ought to be enough to sink the Yankees, who are having Phil Hughes start the game. He gives up home runs like they are going out of style. It's not exactly 2011 Brian Matusz territory for home runs, but he's allowed 8 in 41.1 IP, with six of those being hit by lefties. Say, do the Orioles have any left-handed hitters who like to hit home runs? Or how about right-handed hitters who enjoy great success against right-handed pitchers? Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, we're looking at you. J.J. Hardy, too, if he wants to stay hot. That would be okay with me.

On the other hand, as I told Tanya from Pinstriped Bible, with the way things are going for the Orioles lately, there would be no shock in Hughes throwing a perfect game against them - probably matched by Gonzalez throwing a complete game with the only run scoring unearned following an error. Any complete game would be great from Gonzalez, saving the bullpen - and saving us from seeing the bullpen. How can you feel good about seeing Jim Johnson right now? Or Pedro Strop, or Troy Patton? It's rough.

The best games Gonzalez pitched were against the Yankees last year. Not to get too carried away with narrative, but he seemed like a pitcher with a sense of the moment, who amped it up for big games. The team needs to end this losing streak at six games. Perhaps Miguel is the man to help make that happen.

Nate McLouth - LF Brett Gardner - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Robinson Cano - 2B
Nick Markakis - RF Vernon Wells - LF
Adam Jones - DH Travis Hafner - DH
Chris Davis - 1B Lyle Overbay - 1B
Matt Wieters - C Curtis Granderson - RF
J.J. Hardy - SS David Adams - 3B
Chris Dickerson - CF Jayson Nix - SS
Yamaico Navarro - 2B Austin Romine - C