RHP Chris Tillman (9-2, 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (9-11, 3.20 ERA)
Evan Longoria is 4-for-10 against Tillman in his career with a homer and three walks. The third baseman didn't play in Tillman's lone start against the Rays this year, a 6-2 win in which Tillman allowed two runs in six innings of work July 26 at Camden Yards.
Other games that matter
Rangers (Dempster) at Athletics (Griffin), 3:35 p.m.
Red Sox (Matsuzaka) at Yankees (Kuroda), 7:05 p.m.
Thought of the day
There's too much going on today to share just one thought, so let's go rapid fire:
** The Orioles rotation looks like it's set up pretty nicely for a potential ALDS with Jason Hammel, Miguel Gonzalez and Tillman in line for the first three games. But who takes the ball to get them there?
Steve Johnson would be in line to pitch a Thursday tiebreaker against the Yankees. Joe Saunders would be on regular rest to pitch a wild-card game Friday. Those guys have pitched fine, but they're not the first names off your lips when you're debating who should start a do-or-die game.
Wei-Yin Chen could pitch on three-days rest Friday, but the way he's looked lately, I'd have to think that's unlikely.
** With all due respect to the Orioles, if the A's win the AL West, that gets my vote for the biggest shocker of the year. There's no way that group of players is supposed to finish ahead of the Rangers and Angels.
** Say what you want about the Red Sox's Triple-A lineup, but Andrew Bailey blew the game against the Yankees last night. He's the closer Boston traded Josh Reddick for in the offseason, and his 7.04 ERA in 19 appearances this year doesn't make that trade look any better that it did when Reddick had his breakout first half.
** One more note on these putrid Red Sox. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches tonight in what's widely expected to be his last game in a Boston uniform. Somewhat fitting that one of their worst signings ever takes the ball at the end of one of their most disappointing seasons ever. Does he have it in him to throw an out-of-knowhere gem against the Yankees?
** I say Miguel Cabrera deserves the AL MVP and outlined my reasoning here. Do you agree?