The news of the night is that Wilson Betemit is back on the Orioles, and I have to be honest, I don't care. I have been happy not seeing or thinking about Betemit since spring training and now that's coming to an end. This is a poor way of looking at things, because the real question should be whether he is a better option against right-handed pitchers than whatever the Orioles have been using at DH up until now.
It's probably the case that the answer to that question is yes, unless Betemit hasn't quite recovered entirely from his injury, isn't all the way back at game speed, or whatever. His long and winding rehab saga went the maximum amount of time allotted. How often does that happen unless something weird is going on? And how many times this year have we said that so-and-so player has got to represent an improvement over so-and-so other player, and none of them have actually been improvements at DH?
This is entirely too much thought expended on Betemit.
So, tonight's game. The Orioles have the same story as they've had every night for the past two months. Win to gain or hold ground in the wild card chase, fail to capitalize on things and lose and their playoff hopes will be more diminished. The next six games are against Boston and New York, two teams that are no slouches. They are (probably) not directly competing with either one of these teams for a playoff spot, but they need to win to pass the teams they need to pass.
Tonight's challenge is Felix Doubront, who has a 3.58 career ERA against the O's. Let's get the bad news out of the way first: Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and J.J. Hardy have combined for three hits in 42 PA off Doubront. Now the good news: Chris Davis is 6-12 with a double and a home run, and has also been hit twice by a Doubront pitch. What are the odds that he will receive even a warning for doing so tonight?
Manny Machado is 4-8 with a home run, and Danny Valencia is 2-4 with a double and a home run. Valencia is serving as the designated hitter tonight. Those numbers are probably why.
Wei-Yin Chen starts for the O's tonight, and there isn't an O's pitcher I wouldn't be nervous about in Fenway Park. The O's rotation is staffed mostly with fly ball pitchers, and that is an even unfriendlier place than Camden Yards for that sort of pitcher. Well, here goes nothing.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Brian Roberts (S) - 2B||Jacoby Ellsbury (L) - CF|
|Manny Machado (R) - 3B||Shane Victorino (S) - RF|
|Chris Davis (L) - 1B||Dustin Pedroia (R) - 2B|
|Adam Jones (R) - CF||David Ortiz (L) - DH|
|Nick Markakis (L) - RF||Jonny Gomes (R) - LF|
|Matt Wieters (S) - C||Mike Napoli (R) - 1B|
|J.J. Hardy (R) - SS||Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) - C|
|Danny Valencia (R) - DH||Stephen Drew (L) - SS|
|Steve Pearce (R) - LF||Will Middlebrooks (R) - 3B|