July 26 — Orioles vs. Blue Jays

Hello again Baltimore Orioles faithful. Arden Zwelling here. I’ll be covering the team for the next three days as they take on the Blue Jays in beautiful Toronto.

Let me start by saying I’m sorry. Last time I covered this team it was a manageable 30-33 and there was even talk in the clubhouse of taking a run at climbing the standings. But on the day I took over the beat Mark Connor quit, Alfredo Simon hit the DL and the team went 10-25 in its next 35 games as the season completely derailed. So, sorry about that one guys.

But! If we’re going to call Baltimore’s last visit to Toronto the starting point of the complete disintegration of this Orioles season then why not see this visit as the start of something good? After all, Vladimir Guerrero and Cesar Izturis will likely return from injury as some point during the series, perhaps as early as tonight. The mercurial Zach Britton will likely be up again soon for a start, possibly this coming weekend in New York. And Nolan Reimold, a second round pick a mere six years ago, is slated to get an extended look over the remainder of the season with Luke Scott out for the year. Maybe this is the stretch when he finally fulfills his potential and gives Orioles fans something to look forward to for next year.

Or maybe none of that happens. That, as they say, is why they play the games. All I’m saying is that as far as wishful thinking and blind optimism go, you could do worse. And the midweek attendance in Toronto is typically dreadful so chances are there won’t be too many witnesses if this Baltimore season continues to tailspin.

Guerrero, as it turns out, is in fact in the lineup tonight, batting cleanup as the designated hitter. And Matt Wieters is penciled in after battling a nasty cold this weekend. Izturis, on the other hand, is not and isn’t even with the team. More on that to come later tonight in the Orioles notebook on Orioles.com.

For now, here’s your lineups for the 99th game (Gretzky!) of this 2011 Baltimore Orioles season.

Orioles Lineup

  1. J.J. Hardy SS
  2. Nick Markakis RF
  3. Adam Jones CF
  4. Vladimir Guerrero DH
  5. Matt Wieters C
  6. Derrek Lee 1B
  7. Mark Reynolds 3B
  8. Nolan Reimold LF
  9. Robert Andino 2B
Stating Pitcher: Jake Arrieta (9-7, 5.02 ERA)
Blue Jays Lineup
  1. Yunel Escobar SS
  2. Eric Thames RF
  3. Jose Bautista 3B
  4. Adam Lind 1B
  5. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  6. Travis Snider CF
  7. Aaron Hill 2B
  8. Corey Patterson LF
  9. Jose Molina C
Starting Pitcher: Brandon Morrow (7-4, 4.34 ERA)

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