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Game 99: Orioles (55-43) @ Rangers (54-43), 7:05

The Orioles are going for the sweep against Texas on Sunday night. They won't beat Martin Perez. Forget about it right now. Chris Tillman is starting, which may or may not be why they don't win.


Forget about the Orioles sweeping the Rangers. You know better than this. They don't do sweeps. That's not how they operate. They've won the series, and that's great, and tonight they'll be facing Martin Perez and they're going to get shut down.

Three wins in a row? Forget it. This is Chris Tillman on the mound. Yeah, he's got eleven wins, but that's absurd run support boosting him to those heights, which did allow him to get put on the All-Star team, but come on. He's given up 20 home runs. Now, 16 of those were at home, and nearly all of them were solo home runs. This is Texas in July. There will be home runs. Possibly solo home runs, but that should be enough to win for Texas tonight.

No, but seriously, the MASN writers were throwing out a stat earlier today about how Tillman has the second-highest winning percentage in the AL among starting pitchers since June 25, 2012 (why that exact date?), which is a 20-6 mark, which sounds nice, but is meaningless, especially considering he's averaged 8.38 runs of support per game while compiling a 10-1 record since May 24.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz have both homered once off of Tillman, with Kinsler being 2-for-8 and Cruz hitting 1-for-4 with a pair of walks. That's probably not a meaningful batter-pitcher matchup. But seriously, Tillman is going to give up home runs tonight.

Perez is no slouch, with a 3.00 ERA in... 36 innings? Small sample size! His FIP is 4.67! He's allowed five home runs in those 36 innings, is not a high strikeout pitcher to this point, and hasn't been since he left the low minors. He is left-handed but is not the dreaded soft-tossing lefty, with a fastball averaging 93.1 miles per hour. That's pretty serious. I expect Orioles hitters to look like they have no idea he throws a change-up.

On July 9, Perez pitched six innings, giving up six hits and four runs (two earned) while earning the win for Texas because Zach Britton couldn't get through the fifth inning without a meltdown.

So yeah, they're going for the sweep. They don't sweep. Something ugly will happen tonight. Whether it's a blowout or whether it's some agonizing night of general offensive futility or specific RISP futility, it will be ugly. Maybe there will be a bullpen meltdown for a loss. Just forget about the sweep. You'll be happier that way.

Nate McLouth - LF Ian Kinsler - 1B
Manny Machado - 3B Craig Gentry - CF
Nick Markakis - RF Nelson Cruz - DH
Adam Jones - CF Adrian Beltre - 3B
Chris Davis - 1B A.J. Pierzynski - C
Matt Wieters - C Mitch Moreland - 1B
J.J. Hardy - SS Elvis Andrus - SS
Danny Valencia - DH Davis Murphy - LF
Brian Roberts - 2B Leonys Martin - RF