In one of the great press conferences of our lifetimes, then-Indianapolis football coach Jim Mora sputtered in response to a question, "Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!" Orioles manager Buck Showalter would never engage in such a rant himself, but one imagines somewhere, buried deep within him, is a similar sentiment. Except he might not even aim as high as winning a game. This weekend the Orioles sunk lower than even that goal. He just wants the team to score a run.
As to whether they will score a run, well, pure chance would seem to dictate that they will score one eventually. Then again, that's what I would have guessed for the weekend that just occurred, wherein they were completely shut out over the course of it. When it was Henry Owens on the final day that was almost understandable. The rest? What the heck, dudes?
The good news for today's game is that they are not facing a left-handed pitcher, which if nothing else eliminates the soft-tossing lefty junk-baller explanation for two of the three weekend games from the equation. If they go ahead and make it a fourth shutout in a row against Marco Estrada and whoever may follow him from the Blue Jays bullpen, there's no doubt that the Orioles would have earned that.
Oh, and even if they actually, by some miracle, score some runs against Estrada, they'll probably still be facing an uphill battle, because today's starter is Chris Tillman, who you may have heard has a 15.50 ERA in five games against the Blue Jays this season. This, too, is performance so bad that even pure chance would seem to dictate that its course will be altered eventually. But maybe that's not actually true and maybe the Orioles are set up to get an all-too-familiar shellacking tonight.
|TORONTO BLUE JAYS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Ben Revere - LF||Gerardo Parra - CF|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Jose Bautista - RF||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Edwin Encarnacion - DH||Steve Pearce - LF|
|Chris Colabello - 1B||Steve Clevenger - DH|
|Dioner Navarro - C||Matt Wieters - C|
|Kevin Pillar - CF||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Ryan Goins - SS||Ryan Flaherty - RF|
|Munenori Kawasaki - 2B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Marco Estrada - RHP||Chris Tillman - RHP|