Welcome to the playoff chase, Trey Mancini. The Orioles 2013 eighth round pick is making his MLB debut tonight as the designated hitter. I hope that his family is there and I also hope that he will get to hit a couple of dingers, or at least get one hit in his debut. Mancini is in there against a lefty, former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez, whose season ERA is pushing 5, although he actually hasn't had a bad month since June.
It's a bad sign for the Orioles lineup, to say the least, given their year-long struggle against left-handed pitching, and their general post-All-Star slumping. For tonight, hopefully they can break out of that pattern. And any other time they face a lefty for the rest of the year, of course, but tonight we can only worry about tonight.
As of this moment, the Orioles have a magic number of 11 over the Tigers to clinch any kind of playoff spot at all. They would only be the road wild card team, and while of course I would be glad for the Orioles to be in the playoffs at all, I don't actually want them to have to face one game on the road in Toronto. So they need to win, and win quite a bit, over the last 12 games, including tonight against Boston.
The good news is that Evil Goatee Gausman is on the mound. Well, it's Gausman, and as of this writing I have no reason to believe he's shaved the evil goatee. He has pitched better since he grew it, so let's hope he hasn't shaved it. The bad news is that he had a great game against the Red Sox last time, which probably means he's due to have a not great game against them this time. Unless Evil Goatee Gausman is so good that he could shut down the tough Boston lineup for two starts in a row.
Out-of-town scoreboard watch for tonight: Root for the Twins against the Tigers (8:10 start), Athletics against the Astros (10:05), and Mariners against the Blue Jays (10:10).
|BOSTON RED SOX||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Mookie Betts - RF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Chris Davis - 1B|
|David Ortiz - DH||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Hanley Ramirez - 1B||Mark Trumbo - RF|
|Travis Shaw - 3B||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Chris Young - LF||Matt Wieters - C|
|Jackie Bradley - CF||Trey Mancini - DH|
|Sandy Leon - C||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Marco Hernandez - 2B||Nolan Reimold - LF|
|Eduardo Rodriguez - LHP||Kevin Gausman - RHP|