The White Sox tour of AL East goodwill stops in Baltimore for the weekend. After kicking the Red Sox back into world-vanquishing gear and providing a strong boost to the Yankees playoff hopes, the Sox are coming round to cure what ails the Orioles.
It’s mostly pitching! The Orioles are the only team in baseball that’s crossed the 600 barrier in runs allowed but still maintains the audacity of a winning record. Thursday night they’ll toss-out 29 year-old journeyman Miguel Gonzalez, who was just out of pocket as far as affiliated baseball is concerned from 2008-09, and things will get continually down-home from there.
With the White Sox league-worst offense, their .251/.305/.380 batting line and another run-of-the-mill six-game losing streak rolling into town, the Orioles have to been licking their lips so hard at the prospect of potentially easy wins that extra chapstick reserves for the entire Baltimore/DC/North Maryland area are a must.
Avisail Garcia is hitting a slap-happy (emphasis on “happy”) .344/.384/.473 since joining the White Sox. Maybe it’s his exceptional bat-to-ball skills, maybe it’s his truly preposterous amount of luck on balls in play (.448 BABIP, when just a simple .400 was enough to make Alejandro De Aza look like the AL MVP in 2011), but either way he’s been the shot in the arm of a lifeless corpse that everyone hope for so far.
White Sox Lineup:
1. Alejandro De Aza – CF
2. Gordon Beckham – 2B
3. Alexei Ramirez – SS
4. Adam Dunn – DH
5. Paul Konerko – 1B
6. Avisail Garcia – RF
7. Conor Gillaspie – 3B
8. Dayan Viciedo – LF
9. Bryan Anderson – C
Jose Quintana, SP
After pitching an inning before the rain delay on Monday, Jose Quintana is headed back out to the mound on two days rest. The MLB.com capsule for this reads: “After having his Monday start against the Yankees reduced to just 20 pitches by a two-hour rain delay, Quintana is coming back on just two days rest to pitch in the series opener against the Orioles. Quintana views Monday as sort of a side work day.”
Not exactly, Jose. Not exactly.
Baltimore Orioles Lineup:
Miguel Gonzalez, SP
Since he’s been hitting fine all season, it’s curious to see McLouth buried, but such is the luxury of a lineup full of capable, functional hitters. Danny Valencia is slugging an entirely preposterous and false .587 through 99 plate appearances, which has afforded him a brief hold on a DH-slot that was made for Mike Morse, who can only hope to avoid turning every pedestrian line-drive to right into a triple.
Where to Watch: 6:10 pm CT on CSN Chicago, MLB Network and MASN
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan