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Down the Stretch (Sept. 8)

By David Selig

The Baltimore Sun

1:44 PM EDT, September 8, 2012

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[Editor's note: Down the stretch is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming night for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]


About last night


Orioles can't come back on Yankees, lose 8-5
Adam Jones says he's gunning for Cal's ironman streak
Gausman looks good in Double-A debut with Baysox
Despite recent struggles, Pedro Strop remains focused
Friday's full scoreboard


AL East Standings

NYY       78-60     --
BAL       77-61      1
TB         76-62     2

AL Wild-Card Standings

OAK        77-60     --
BAL         77-61      --
TB          76-62     1
LAA         75-63     2
DET        73-64     3.5


Tonight’s game


Yankees at Orioles, 7:05 p.m.

LHP CC Sabathia (13-4, 3.42 ERA) vs. LHP Joe Saunders (1-1, 4.63 ERA)


Key matchup

Adam Jones has been sizzling in September, and he has good history against Sabathia (his All-Star teammate, as pictured above). For his career, Jones is a .342 hitter against the big lefty with 3 homers and 10 RBIs in 38 at-bats. For the season, Jones is hitting .302 with three homers against Yankees pitching. He did look bad in two at-bats agains right-handers last night (strikeouts vs. Phil Hughes in the third inning and David Robertson in the eighth), but he also launched a homer off Hughes in the sixth.


Other games that matter

Royals (Chen) at White Sox (Sale), 4:05 p.m.

Rangers (Darvish) at Rays (Archer), 7:10 p.m.

Tigers (Verlander) at Angels (Wilson), 9:05 p.m.

Athletics (Anderson) at Mariners (Iwakuma), 9:10 p.m.


Thought of the day

Robert Andino homered for the second straight game last night, and for some reason he just seems like the type of player who can raise his level of play when the lights get bright.

Yes, he had a ball eat him up at second base in the ninth inning (it was ruled a hit), and his defense was shaky early in the season. And yes, you can argue that those games against the Red Sox late last September really weren't "big games" for the Orioles. But I think he brings an edge to the team, and right now he's getting the lion's share of the at-bats at second base in the most important games of the year.

That hasn't always seemed like it would be the case.

Omar Quintanilla was playing the position on an everyday basis in late July and for most of August, but he's hitless in his last 25 at-bats.

Ryan Flaherty started at second in his first two games back from the disabled list (Aug. 24 and 25). He went 1-for-3 both nights but hasn't seen an at-bat since.

And, of course, there was also that brief Brian Roberts cameo.

So, second base has been anything but stable for the Orioles this season, and it's never going to be described as one of their positions of strength. (Especially when the hulking Robinson Cano is manning that plot of dirt for the opponent.)

But it'll be interesting to see if Andino continues to be the everyday guy. If he keeps popping balls out of the yard, he surely will.


Inside the enemy clubhouses


Mark Teixeira is anxious to get back in the Yankees' lineup tonight

Rays ace David Price is skipping a start with a sore shoulder

Gavin Floyd hopes to come off DL and pitch in White Sox's upcoming series vs. Detroit

A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy tweets -- a good sign, but he's still in danger

 

Tweet of the day

The good news in all of this, is that I set up my fantasy lineups beforehand. So there shall be no excuses at this point.

 

Poll question




Twitter.com/DaveSelig

david.selig@baltsun.com