Rainouts are a bummer, but look on the bright side: We were momentarily spared from having to have Wei-Yin Chen pitch against the Yankees in this series. That might have ended badly. Actually, it may have been more about giving Chen an extra rest day, which is important for him, rather than any expected performance for him against the Yankees as opposed to Chris Tillman, who's actually starting Wednesday's game.
Anyway, the Orioles go into tonight with a 6.5 game division lead. That's a real thing. This is the world we live in.
RHP Michael Pineda, Yankees
2014: 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 1.83 ERA, 15 SO, 3 BB, .233 BAA, 1.02 WHIP
First MLB start since April 23
That whole thing where Pineda was ejected for having pine tar on his neck feels like a lifetime ago. It was, in some ways. Certainly a darker time, one where the Orioles were just an OK team, rather than a first place team for a month and counting. That's who he'll have to face tonight. Not that it's the same Orioles lineup, and not that he's seen this lineup yet this year in any case.
Pineda had a strained lat muscle while pitching to stay fresh during the suspension he received for the pine tar incident. As such, it's his first MLB action in over three months. Hopefully for the Orioles, he's on the rusty side.
RHP Chris Tillman, Orioles
2014: 25 GS, 149.2 IP, 3.73 ERA, .241 BAA, 1.29 WHIP
Last start (vs. Cardinals): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 SO
Tillman has recorded a quality start in six of his last seven starts. One of those came against the Yankees just before the All-Star Break, in a game where the Orioles did not score any runs. It is indeed tough to win when the offense gets no runs.
You can usually tell from the first inning whether it's going to be a good Tillman night or a bad Tillman night. He struggles early. That's just what he does. If tonight is one of the struggle nights, then the O's will find themselves in an early hole. Keep it as small as possible, Chris. You know these hitters can come back.
|NEW YORK YANKEES||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Brett Gardner - LF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Derek Jeter - SS||Chris Davis - 3B|
|Jacoby Ellsbury - CF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Mark Teixeira - 1B||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Carlos Beltran - DH||Delmon Young - LF|
|Chase Headley - 3B||Steve Pearce - 1B|
|Stephen Drew - 2B||Ryan Flaherty - SS|
|Martin Prado - RF||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Francisco Cervelli - C||Nick Hundley - C|
|Michael Pineda - RHP||Chris Tillman - RHP|
Yankees batters with over .800 OPS in at least 10 PA vs. Tillman: Ellsbury, Jeter, Teixeira, Drew. That does sound like a recipe for a possible short night for Tillman and long night for Orioles fans.
Think the Orioles lineup is a bit weird? That's what injuries to both Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy will do to you. Davis at third base - well, maybe it won't be that bad, but as Buck Showalter likes to say, the baseball will find you out there.