Remember that whole thing about having the same Orioles lineup for two games in a row? That's out the window for the third game as things get shuffled up. The big difference is the most concerning one, that Adam Jones is not in the starting lineup at all.
Now that Jones is out of the lineup the next day, we can connect some dots from last night. In his final at-bat, Jones looked awfully uncomfortable after taking a particularly strong swing - you know how Jones does - and earlier in the game, there was a sacrifice fly on which Jones did not even attempt to make a throw home.
You could explain it away at the time, reasonably, by noting that it was a deep fly ball and the runner on third base was Byron Buxton, who is a speedy runner. But even the normally team-friendly Mike Bordick noted on MASN that Jones might have not wanted to throw due to something to do with his shoulder.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports indicated on Thursday afternoon that he has been told Jones is out of the lineup due to discomfort in his oblique. If that's the case, this won't be the last game Jones misses, and quite possibly it's only a matter of time before he lands on the disabled list.
Orioles reporters indicated that manager Buck Showalter said he "wasn't going to use the O-word" (oblique), describing the problem instead as "soreness in the rib area." Those among us who either took Anatomy & Physiology or looked it up on Wikipedia know that the oblique muscle is in the rib area. Showalter likely knows too.
Showalter also said that he hopes the injury is just a one game issue, and further, that if it was up to Jones, Jones would have been in the lineup.
After last night's game, Showalter said that he was not aware of any injury. Presumably, he was made aware of one between then and now.
So without Jones, things come out like so:
1. Joey Rickard - CF
2. Nolan Reimold - LF
3. Manny Machado - 3B
4. Chris Davis - 1B
5. Mark Trumbo - RF
6. J.J. Hardy - SS
7. Pedro Alvarez - DH
8. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
9. Caleb Joseph - C
I figured if Rickard played well, he might make his way to the top of the lineup eventually. I didn't expect it after two games. Then again, Showalter probably didn't expect a Jones injury after two games either.
The absence of Matt Wieters in the lineup is less surprising and less concerning. With Ubaldo Jimenez taking his turn on the mound tonight, that likely explains the presence of Joseph. We can, and surely will, endlessly debate the efficacy of catcher ERA in measuring anything about a pitcher in general, but when Jimenez has a 7.04 ERA in 14 games throwing to Wieters and a 2.98 ERA in 32 games throwing to Joseph, that seems to be enough for Showalter.
This is the bunch that will face Twins pitcher Phil Hughes tonight. All Orioles players collectively have batted .232/.264/.401 in a combined 217 plate appearances against Hughes. That's not so good, but then again, a combined 97 of those plate appearances were by Jones and Wieters, both of whom had poor numbers, neither of whom is in the lineup.
Bad numbers against a pitcher aren't going to keep a healthy Jones out of a lineup. They may, along with the Jimenez/Joseph bond, contribute to keeping Wieters out of there for tonight.