1. Starting fresh in second half. The Orioles surpassed pretty much everyone's expectations in the first half of the season, winning their first seven games and never really looking back. Another seven-game win streak had them at 17 games over .500 heading to Seattle ... where the Mariners promptly teed off on them to the tune of 31 runs in a four-game sweep that left them at 47-34 heading into the second half of the season. Can they get back to the way they played most of the first half tonight?
2. O's turn to their ... ace? Yovani Gallardo's 5.77 season ERA is nothing to look at, but he has pitched reasonably well since his mid-June return from the disabled list. In fact, he has gone 2-0 with the Orioles winning all three of his starts. Gallardo has pitched to a 4.41 ERA, giving up 15 hits and eight runs while striking out 14 in 16 1/3 innings since coming off the DL. That looks pretty good compared to the 21 earned runs in 18 innings Orioles starteres allowed in Seattle. Can Gallardo again pitch well enough for the Orioles to win?
3. Dodgers not so blue. Some pundits seemed to expect the Dodgers to fall apart when three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw went on the DL with back issues. Instead, the Dodgers have won four in a row. Kershaw's is just the latest in a string of injuries to the rotation, but L.A. has simply dipped into its minor league system for the likes of tonight's starter Julio Arias, a teenage phenom who earned his first major league win his last time out. Can the Dodgers' staff keep it up sans Kershaw?