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Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.66 ERA) has been one of the Orioles' biggest surprises of the second half, but that also makes him a candidate to disappoint down the stretch if he can't maintain the same level of success. Gonzalez struggled in his last start Aug. 20 in Texas, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings. He's had 10 days off heading into tonight's start, so it will be interesting to see how he responds against a tough lineup in a tough ballpark for righties.
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Mark J. Rebilas, US PRESSWIRE
It's no secret that the Yankees are loaded with left-handed power hitters, which leads you to believe that newly signed veteran Randy Wolf will get some work out of the bullpen this weekend. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez, Ichiro and Eric Chavez all hit from the left side of the plate. So, having Wolf and Brian Matusz available out of the pen from the left side will allow Showalter to play more of the matchup game in the late innings. It's something the Orioles haven't done much this season, as primary lefty Troy Patton (currently on the DL) was more of a one-inning guy than a one-batter situational guy. But we'll start to get a sense this weekend whether Wolf is yet another instance of executive vice president Dan Duquette striking gold and turning another team's castaway into a useful piece.
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The main storyline for the Orioles' series in New York this weekend is clear: With a sweep, the O's can pull even with the Yankees in the AL East standings. Even winning two out of three will pull them to within two games of the division lead with a month to play. But there are also some underlying storylines that will begin to unfurl as the teams open the series tonight in the Bronx. Here's a look at five of them. --