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Thursday's Orioles lineup: Alvarez on the bench, even against a RHP

The Orioles are facing a right-handed pitcher tonight and Pedro Alvarez is on the bench anyway. A move for defense, or a move signaling frustration with his season-opening slump?

A new game and a new lineup configuration has been the pattern for most of this season for the O's, but on Thursday night they're returning to a lineup they have used exactly one week ago. In fact, with Chris Tillman as the starting pitcher, it'll be the exact same team taking the field as on April 14 in Texas - just this time they'll be facing the Blue Jays in Baltimore.

What makes the re-use of this exact lineup interesting is that the last time they used it, they were facing Texas lefty Cole Hamels. So you'd maybe expect to see the same one against another lefty. However, Jays starter Marco Estrada is a right-handed pitcher.

That Pedro Alvarez has been bounced to the bench even against a righty is a bit of a surprise. A one game aberration, or a recognition on the part of manager Buck Showalter that Alvarez is seriously slumping and/or Reimold is hot enough to play? It could also be a choice to put a better outfield defense out there, if Reimold is seen as better than Trumbo.

With Tillman pitching to a Jays lineup that includes several lefties, it's possible a number of balls will get pulled into right field. Trumbo's made some bad plays and some OK plays. He could be worse out there. But he's not an outfielder and Reimold is, and maybe that matters. Of course, Trumbo's hitting too well to be on the bench, so this makes him the DH instead.

The starting lineup for tonight:

1. Joey Rickard - LF
2. Manny Machado - 3B
3. Adam Jones - CF
4. Chris Davis - 1B
5. Mark Trumbo - DH
6. Matt Wieters - C
7. J.J. Hardy - SS
8. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
9. Nolan Reimold - RF

Machado brings a 13 game hitting streak into the game, which is the current longest active streak in the majors. It's also one shy of his career long hitting streak. Manny is also baseball's current holder of an iron man streak, playing in 175 games in a row. He'll only have to play every game for the next 15+ seasons to pass Cal Ripken Jr.

Tomorrow's lineup choices might be the interesting ones. As the O's play their 14th game, Wieters has still yet to catch consecutive games on consecutive days. There isn't another O's off day until May 2. If the reluctance to have him catch back-to-back days is still carrying over from last year, we'll have a clear idea of that very soon.

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