Here is the situation. The Orioles lost last night because Dan Duquette should never sign free agent starting pitchers who cost a draft pick in February, and especially not ones whose medical information reveals a shoulder problem. They are going to lose tomorrow because Kevin Gausman is pitching on the road, and the Yankees starter tomorrow has been changed to CC Sabathia, a soft-tossing lefty. Forget about it right now. It's a loss.
Which makes the importance of today's game so much greater. Dare we call it must-win? If the Orioles want to cling tenuously to the second wild card spot, or at least a tie for the second wild card spot, then yes, they must win today. The Tigers are a mere game back and playing a bad Angels team this weekend.
The Orioles need to win, and they will need to do it without Adam Jones, because his hamstring problem has kept him out of the lineup today. That means leadoff hitter Manny Machado. That's actually not the worst thing in the world. Yes, Machado hits a lot of dingers, and ideally you want to give a chance for guys to get on base for him, but this way he will have the most chances to bat and therefore the most chances to homer. The problem is less the top of the lineup than the bottom.
I don't really know what else to say about these guys right now. I think they might be above .500 at the end of the regular season.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Brett Gardner - LF|
|Hyun Soo Kim - LF||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Mark Trumbo - RF||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Mark Teixeira - 1B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Pedro Alvarez - DH||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Brian McCann - DH|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Aaron Hicks - RF|
|Julio Borbon - CF||Ronald Torreyes - 3B|
|Dylan Bundy - RHP||Chad Green - RHP|