So begins the latest ultimate Orioles series of ultimate destiny of the 2016 season. There are 23 games remaining, counting the one they will play tonight. They hold a lead of one game over the Tigers, who they will play all weekend. Win the series and they stay ahead of Detroit in the standings. Lose the series and they'll be tied. Get swept and they'll be behind for the road wild card spot.
The chance is here for the Orioles to make some hay this weekend. They have the direct chance to take games on the Tigers, and at this same time, the Blue Jays and Red Sox, who are ahead of the Orioles in the division, will be playing one another over the weekend. IF the Orioles win the series, no matter what they will gain on at least one of their AL East foes. That's pretty good... if they can win the series.
It won't be an easy task. The Tigers are a good team, as you'd expect for a team that's one game out of the postseason picture. They have a great player in Miguel Cabrera, some good-to-great pitchers including a resurgent Justin Verlander and tonight's starter Michael Fulmer, and others who have been doing well this year. And they're playing at home, while the Orioles must do this thing on the road, where they are not as good.
Tonight's out-of-town scoreboard rooting interest: Choose whoever your conscience allows you to prefer between Boston and Toronto. Is it better if the Red Sox, who are farther ahead of the O's, lose to come back closer to them, or is it better if the Blue Jays, who are closer to the O's, lose so the O's can pass the closer team? It's a problem with no one correct answer.
Elsewhere: The Yankees host the Rays, the Astros host the Cubs, the Royals are on the road against the White Sox. A brief word about the Yankees. Earlier today I read an article on the Yankees blog, Pinstripe Alley, with the headline: "The Yankees' Evil Empire label is fading" In it are several quotes from other teams fans in which they proclaim that they do not hate the Yankees as much as they used to.
If the Yankees go 0-162 for the next 20 years, we still won't be even for Jeffrey Maier. Burn in baseball hell, Yankees. I hate you more with each passing year.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||DETROIT TIGERS|
|Adam Jones - CF||Ian Kinsler - 2B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Cameron Maybin - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Miguel Cabrera - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Victor Martinez - DH|
|Mark Trumbo - RF||J.D. Martinez - RF|
|Matt Wieters - C||Justin Upton - LF|
|Pedro Alvarez - DH||James McCann - C|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Erick Aybar - 3B|
|Hyun Soo Kim - LF||Jose Iglesias - SS|
|Kevin Gausman - RHP||Michael Fulmer - RHP|