This is the biggest Orioles game of the year, so far. Funny thing about coming down the stretch is that every game is bigger than the last, at least until you lose so many games that none of the games matter any more. Well, there's eight games left and the games still matter to the Orioles, which is a whole lot better than we ever could have imagined five years ago - though not so good as we might have imagined back in June.
The thing about the Orioles is that they've scored only 270 runs since the All-Star break, which is actually second-worst in the American League. Their .234 batting average and .295 on-base percentage since the break are both last in the AL. As bad as the starting rotation is (Wade Miley is pitching today) and as bad as it has been all season, the story of the lack of Orioles offense in the second half may be the biggest one.
Also, the Orioles suck against left-handed pitchers. That's been a season-long storyline. They really suck. By OPS, they are the worst team in the AL at hitting lefty pitchers. As a team, they are worse hitting against lefties than Matt Wieters is at hitting altogether.
Guess who's pitching tonight for the Diamondbacks? Robbie Ray, a lefty. He is, at least, not a soft-tossing lefty. Ray has struck out 28.7% of batters this season, though, and despite getting 46% ground balls, has an astoundingly high BABIP of .353. That hints at some bad luck, and he may not even need good luck to batter the Orioles into submission tonight anyway.
But Ray does have home run problems - 21 allowed in 166 innings - so here's hoping the Orioles can find a way to hit some homers on a cool night at Camden Yards. If we're lucky, they might even hit a home run with someone on base. Can Trey Mancini make it three homers in three starts? Probably not! It'd be awesome if he did, though.
Out-of-town scoreboard: The Royals took a ninth inning lead against the Tigers as I was writing this post, and I sure hope they kept it. Root for the Yankees (ugh) against the Blue Jays (game underway as of this writing), the Twins against the Mariners (7:10), and the Angels against the Astros (7:10).
|ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Jean Segura - 2B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Chris Owings - SS||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Paul Goldschmidt - 1B||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Welington Castillo - C||Mark Trumbo - RF|
|Yasmany Tomas - RF||Trey Mancini - DH|
|Brandon Drury - 3B||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Kyle Jensen - LF||Matt Wieters - C|
|Mitch Haniger - CF||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Phil Gosselin - DH||Drew Stubbs - LF|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Wade Miley - LHP|