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Baltimore Orioles IV: Let Down Edition

Having had their eight-game winning streak snapped last night by a lop-sided loss to the Red Sox, the Yankees have to be careful not to suffer a let-down against the lowly Orioles tonight. Being back at the Stadium and having Mike Mussina on the mound should help with that. Moose has a 1.41 ERA over his last five starts and has struck out 31 against just three walks and no homers in that stretch. Then again, his one start against his former team this season was one of the worst of his career as he was unable to compensate for a first-inning error by Derek Jeter and wound up allowing seven runs and getting the hook before the O’s made their third out.

He takes on Jeremy Guthrie, who has been far and away the O’s best starter this year. Guthrie has alternated starts of four or more runs allowed and starts of two or fewer runs allowed since June 7, but hasn’t allowed more than five runs in a game since March. If the pattern holds, he’ll allow four or more tonight, but we saw how well that worked with Jon Lester last night.

The Orioles lost their last series in the Bronx 2-1, but are 4-2 against the Yankees in Baltimore. The Yanks haven’t seen the Orioles since late May, but the team hasn’t changed much. They’ve rotated through a number of replacement-level shortstops, most recently settling on Juan Castro, but the rest of the lineup remains the same. The O’s do have a nine-man bullpen right now (along with a three-man bench and a four-man rotation following the recent demotion of Radhames Liz), but they’ve made no notable additions to their relief corps.

The top of the O’s lineup is solid with Brian Roberts now being followed by Adam Jones (a singles-heavy .305/.344/.416 since late May, but already starting to make the Erik Bedard trade look good for Baltimore), Nick Markakis, and a rejuvenated Aubrey Huff (.293/.354/.533 with 20 homers on the season). In fact, the O’s have six players in double-digits in home runs (Huff, Luke Scott with 18, Markakis and fifth-place hitter Melvin Mora with 15, Yankee Killer Kevin Millar with 14, and catcher Ramon Hernandez with 11). Of course, Mora and Hernandez have done very little beyond hit home runs, but Scott and Millar add some extra pop and patience in the six and seven holes. Huff’s the real threat, though. Always something of a second-half hitter, he’s hit .348/.400/.626 since June 1 and something very close to that since the second half began. Expect to see Joe Girardi deploy Damaso Marte against him as Huff loses more than 200 points of OPS when a lefty is on the mound. I just hope Girardi has the good sense to use Marte for more than just that one hitter.

No surprises in the lineup tonight with a righty on the mound and Xavier Nady having settled in as the left-fielder and seventh-place hitter, nor on the transaction wire.

Baltimore Orioles

2008 Record: 49-55 (.471)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 50-54 (.479)

Manager: Dave Trembley
General Manager: Andy MacPhail

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Oriole Park at Camden Yards (101/102)

Who’s Replaced Whom:

Juan Castro replaced Freddie Bynum (minors)
Brandon Fahey (minors) replaced Alex Cintron (DL)
Fernando Cabrera (DL) replaced Luis Hernandez (minors)
Randor Bierd (DL) replaced Steve Trachsel
Alberto Castillo (minors) replaced Matt Albers (DL)

25-man Roster:

1B – Kevin Millar (R)
2B – Brian Roberts (S)
SS – Juan Castro (R)
3B – Melvin Mora (R)
C – Ramon Hernandez (R)
RF – Nick Markakis (L)
CF – Adam Jones (R)
LF – Luke Scott (L)
DH – Aubrey Huff (L)


R – Jay Payton (OF)
L – Brandon Fahey (UT)
R – Guillermo Quiroz (C)


R – Jeremy Guthrie
R – Daniel Cabrera
L – Garrett Olson
L – Brian Burres


L – George Sherrill
R – Jim Johnson
L – Jamie Walker
R – Chad Bradford
R – Dennis Sarfate
R – Lance Cormier
R – Fernando Cabrera
R – Randor Bierd
L – Alberto Castillo

15-day DL: S – Alex Cintron (IF), L – Adam Loewen, R – Matt Albers, R – Chris Ray, R – Jim Hoey, R – Greg Aquino

60-day DL: R- Danys Baez, L – Troy Patton

Typical Lineup:

S – Brian Roberts (2B)
R – Adam Jones (CF)
L – Nick Markakis (RF)
L – Aubrey Huff (DH)
R – Melvin Mora (3B)
L – Luke Scott (LF)
R – Kevin Millar (1B)
R – Ramon Hernandez (C)
R – Juan Castro (SS)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver