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Friday's Orioles lineup: Jones batting fifth again

Two games in a row the Orioles have had Adam Jones batting fifth where he'd mostly been batting third. New normal way of things or just a blip on the radar?

There are a lot of different ways to arrange nine out of twelve or thirteen different players. So far in the 2016 season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter is determined to explore as many of those ways as he possibly can, unveiling new configurations almost daily even though he's really only regularly using ten players.

It's worth emphasizing with each day's lineup that there's only so much he can do to hide slumping players, particularly against a left-handed starting pitcher. The White Sox have many lefty pitchers, including tonight's starter, Carlos Rodon. They are the opposite of the Orioles in that way, who are bereft of lefty starters entirely.

Against a lefty, Pedro Alvarez is relegated to the bench, and should be. Hyun Soo Kim remains on the bench as well, which would probably be the case even if it wasn't a lefty on the mound tonight. That's two of the three bench spots. The third belongs to whatever catcher isn't playing tonight. That's Caleb Joseph today. He and Matt Wieters continue to alternate days.

The starting nine behind Mike Wright for Friday night:

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

It's interesting that Jones remains in the fifth spot in the order. Is this some temporary configuration against a slew of lefty starters, or is this becoming the new normal? While Jones got two hits last night, that still leaves him mired with a .217/.277/.317 batting line on the year. He has a lot of heating up to do to get back to where the Orioles need him to be.

If Wieters is not the catcher for Saturday's game, he will have gone the entire month of April without catching games on consecutive days.

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