One thing about a west coast road trip is that the teams against whom the Orioles are competing for the division will probably have already played their games when the O's are getting started. That's the case tonight, with the Red Sox having already beaten the Indians today.
That means the Orioles have to win to remain in sole possession of first place in the American League East. They certainly ought to win, as they have burgeoning top-flight starter Kevin Gausman pitching opposite the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California's Matt Shoemaker, who enters the game with an 8.49 ERA in seven starts, with seven home runs surrendered in 29.2 innings.
Yet as all of us who watched the 2014 ALCS know, what ought to happen is not always the same as what does happen in baseball. That's just not the way it works. Gausman has to pitch a good game and Orioles hitters need to take advantage if Shoemaker is sloppy.
It could be a real advantage for the O's if they're able to knock Shoemaker out of the game early, or if they force the Angels to keep going with a struggling Shoemaker. Yesterday's early ejection of Hector Santiago could loom large in the series - again, if the Orioles hitters take advantage. Whether or not they will is something we just can't know.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||LOS ANGELES ANGELS|
|Joey Rickard - LF||Yunel Escobar - 3B|
|Manny Machado - SS||Kole Calhoun - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Mike Trout - CF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Albert Pujols - DH|
|Mark Trumbo - RF||C.J. Cron - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Johnny Giavotella - 2B|
|Pedro Alvarez - DH||Rafael Ortega - LF|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Jett Bandy - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 3B||Gregorio Petit - SS|
|Kevin Gausman - RHP||Matt Shoemaker - RHP|