A must-win tonight

It has to happen tonight.

The Orioles are 0-11 against the Blue Jays this season. They can't go 0-12.

Tonight presents their best opportunity to salvage a victory over Toronto, a team that treats the Orioles the same way Sidney Ponson treats a slice of cheesecake.

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Rookie Brad Mills is making his third major league start for the Jays, and his first in 2010. The lefty has allowed 12 runs and 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings, and has surrendered four home runs.

The Orioles will counter with Jeremy Guthrie, who has posted back-to-back quality starts - the only ones coming from their rotation in the last 11 games.

Don't look now, but Guthrie has emerged as the staff ace.

Over his last two starts, Guthrie has given up three runs and 13 hits in 13 2/3 innings, with one walk and 12 strikeouts. Scouts will be watching him closely again tonight. He's become an attractive bargaining chip at the same time that Kevin Millwood's value has disappeared like that slice of cheesecake.

He's 2-5 in 13 career starts against the Jays, but that record is attached to a 3.56 ERA. He held them to one run in 6 2/3 innings on July 17.

It has to happen tonight.

The Orioles are 2-10 since the break. That crazy dream I referenced last night includes a four-game sweep in Texas to end the first half.

It seemed so real.

I'll take a stab at tonight's lineup. Maybe it'll look something like this:

Brian Roberts 2B
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Felix Pie LF
Julio Lugo SS

Did anyone notice that Michael Gonzalez threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings last night, and his fastball topped out at 94 mph?

One batter reached base, but it happened on a strikeout. Gonzalez was charged with a wild pitch.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't dream it.

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