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Game 70: Red Sox (42-28) @ Orioles (39-30), 1:35

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USA TODAY Sports

It is a fitting coincidence that father-to-be Miguel Gonzalez gets to start the game for the Orioles on Father's Day. The reporters have been saying "any day now" since his last start, with the MASN commentators joking during the previous start that he must have trainer Richie Bancells down in the tunnel with his cell phone in case he had to leave in a hurry. That didn't happen then, but it's still a possibility today. Of all the many ways that O's starters have failed to go seven (or even six) innings this year, that would be a new one.

Gonzalez comes into today's game with a lower season ERA than long-time Orioles nemesis Jon Lester, who is his counterpart for the day. Gonzalez sports a 3.71 ERA to Lester's 4.12. These are close enough that they could change places easily if Gonzalez gets hammered and Lester throws the inevitable complete game shutout.

Actually, last year's Orioles may have exorcised the can't beat Lester demons, because they faced him three times and won every game, with Lester even taking the loss against the Orioles for the first time in his career last September. This Red Sox team appears to be much better than last year's Red Sox team, but the curse is broken nonetheless. Lester has not seen the Orioles yet this year, nor has Gonzalez seen the Red Sox.

Lester looks like he is struggling by his own standards, though this is one of those cases where the Orioles would love to have a rotation full of Lesters, who is averaging about 6.1 IP/GS and has a lower ERA by about .6 points than the Orioles rotation collectively. That would have spared the Orioles bullpen about 46 innings.

Sunday forfeit lineup is in full effect. There is no Nate McLouth, because Lester is a lefty, which makes sense but also sucks. There's also no Ryan Flaherty for the same reason, but that means Alexi Casilla, the doofus of the bottom of the ninth inning yesterday, will be on the field instead. He actually hits marginally better than Flaherty, and his TOOTBLAN yesterday is not reflective of his skill as a baseball player, so you never know. Maybe he's due to make up for yesterday's mistake.

It's Father's Day in Birdland, and everywhere else too. Maybe the O's will win one for their dads, because they never seem to win one for their moms. Oh, Sunday games. Actually, the O's have won their last two Sundays. Three in a row would give them this series over the Red Sox and leave them 1.5 games back. A loss means a series split and we wonder what might have been. No pressure or anything.


Baltimore Orioles Boston Red Sox
Nick Markakis - RF Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Jose Iglesias - 2B
J.J. Hardy - SS Daniel Nava - RF
Adam Jones - CF David Ortiz - DH
Chris Davis - 1B Jonny Gomes - LF
Matt Wieters - C Mike Carp - 1B
Danny Valencia - DH Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C
Steve Pearce - LF Will Middlebrooks - 3B
Alexi Casilla - 2B Stephen Drew - SS