The Orioles will open their six-day road trip to New York tonight with the first of two interleague games against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The club will face a pair of teams in first place in their respective divisions. The Mets (16-10) lead the National League East by 3 ½ games over the Nationals. They're also the only team in the division above .500. The Yankees (16-10) lead the American League East by two games over the Tampa Bay Rays and 2 ½ games over the Orioles.
Interleague games in an NL park mean the pitchers hit and the Orioles lose their designated hitter.
In all likelihood, that means hot-hitting Jimmy Paredes, who has made 11 of his 12 starts as the designated hitter, won't start Tuesday or Wednesday. They could play him at second base, but that the Orioles are trying Steve Pearce – who has never started at the position – tells you about the team's confidence in Paredes there.
Both Orioles starting pitchers this series – right-hander Bud Norris and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez – have experience with the bat from pitching in the NL.
Norris, who pitches first, is a career .150 hitter (26-for-173), but is actually 4-for-10 in interleague play since joining the Orioles.
Jimenez, who pitched part of six seasons with the Rockies, is a .113 career hitter (31-for-274). Jimenez had just one outing in an NL park last year, on Aug. 23 against the Cubs. He pitched four innings in relief of Norris following a lengthy rain delay. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.
The ageless Bartolo Colon will start for the Mets Tuesday night. He's 12-8 with a 3.25 ERA in 27 career games (26 starts) against the Orioles. But most of Colon's starts against the Orioles are from earlier in his career, when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.
He's made just one start against the Orioles since the end of the 2012 season. On April 28, 2013 against the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards, the Orioles scored five runs on nine hits over six innings against Colon in a 9-8 win.
Expect to see Delmon Young in the starting lineup Tuesday night -- he's 4-for-8 against Colon. Adam Jones is hitting .308 (8-for-26) against him and Chris Davis (4-for-10) is the only Orioles player to have hit a home run off Colon. Travis Snider is 3-for-9.
Also, shortstop J.J. Hardy and infielder Ryan Flaherty began their minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie last night. Hardy was 2-for-4 and Flaherty went 1-for-4.