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Game 80: Indians (40-37) @ Orioles (43-36), 7:05

Dear Orioles,Please stop losing.Your fan,Mark


A day after being one-hit through seven innings by Scott Kazmir, it's hard to be very optimistic about anything. Even worse when you factor in the ninth-inning loss, the sixth time the Orioles have blown a lead in the ninth and lost the game this season. That is the most in the majors. Last year, they only lost one such game all year.

If there is some good news, and I think there is, it's that Miguel Gonzalez is starting for the Orioles. With he and Tillman pitching the way they have been, and with Wei-Yin Chen's return approaching, perhaps the rotation will not be terrible forever. Miguel has a 4.15 ERA at home, which is not great, but not awful either. Good enough to win you most games, provided that the offense is not flummoxed by a pitcher like Kazmir and the closer isn't working in his third straight game.

Tonight, the Indians starter is Corey Kluber, who sounds like he should be someone who sucks, like some scrub pitcher who comes up and makes a spot start for the Twins or the Royals and inexplicably dominates the Orioles. With a 3.68 ERA, he hasn't sucked this year, so that kind of ruins this little scenario. Earlier in June, he had back-to-back eight inning outings where he only gave up one run combined. That's a good month.

The right-handed Kluber has platoon splits the opposite of what you'd expect: righties bat .287/.326/.459 off of him, whereas lefties are batting only .250/.294/.424. Lefties have hit six of the nine home runs he's surrendered, though.

Could that be a good night for the Orioles hitters who are righties who have good numbers against righties? That's a list that includes Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy. Jones hasn't walked in quite a while, and Machado hasn't homered in even longer. Let's fix that, shall we, fellas?

The only Orioles batter to ever face Kluber is Danny Valencia, and he has only two at-bats and is not in the starting lineup. This creates even more of that feeling of facing some random crappy pitcher and being dominated. Like Kazmir. How do you beat Justin Verlander and suck against Kazmir? I don't know.

The Orioles need a win tonight to salvage a split of this Cleveland series, one they could really use with Boston being unwilling to lose a game, ever, and the Yankees coming into town next. A solid outing from the starter where they score some runs and the bullpen doesn't give it all back. Can it be done? Well, yes, we saw as much on Tuesday, so the real question is if it can be done twice in a four-game series. We will soon find out. Hold on to your butts.

Nate McLouth - LF Michael Bourn - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Mike Aviles - SS
Nick Markakis - RF Jason Kipnis - 2B
Adam Jones - CF Jason Giambi - DH
Chris Davis - DH Carlos Santana - C
Matt Wieters - C Michael Brantley - LF
J.J. Hardy - SS Mark Reynolds - 1B
Travis Ishikawa - 1B Lonnie Chisenhall - 3B
Ryan Flaherty - 2B Drew Stubbs - RF