Hardy leading off is the right thing

A win tonight would put the Orioles back at .500 for the first time since May 26, right before that horrific West Coast trip.

David Price is quite a hurdle, but the Orioles weren’t supposed to clear Jeremy Hellickson last night. They didn’t fall on their faces. They didn’t even skin a knee.

Manager Buck Showalter can break out his right-handed lineup against Price, and that has to include J.J. Hardy atop the order. Right?

Felix Pie and Robert Andino used to be the leadoff options, but Pie seems to have dropped out of the running and down the order, where he’s more comfortable. Andino is fine in the ninth spot. I don’t see any reason to mess with Hardy.

It Hardy seems fair.

Hardy reached base five times last night. He’s led off the bottom of the first inning with home runs in both career starts in that role. No need to change it.

I’m just curious to see whether Brandon Snyder starts at first base, or whether Mark Reynolds moves to first and Andino goes to third, with Ryan Adams making a rare start at second.

Reynolds committed his 12th error last night with a wild throw on a pretty routine play in the ninth inning, and he easily could have been charged with one in the sixth. Instead, it went as an infield hit for Justin Ruggiano.

It was evident from Showalter’s postgame remarks that he thought Reynolds should have been tagged with an error. Showalter noted how Jake Arrieta allowed one hit, not two. The box score wasn’t going to change his mind.

In case you missed it, both dugouts emptied last night in the Yankees-Indians game after Fausto Carmona gave up a home run to Curtis Granderson and drilled Mark Teixeira in the back.

I mention it only because the two managers, Joe Girardi and Manny Acta, went nose-to-nose in the infield and had to be separated. How often do you see managers ready to mix it up?

Perhaps out of sheer boredom during the rain delay at Camden Yards, a bunch of writers and other assorted personnel debated who we’d take in a 30-manager Battle Royal. (Yes, we do more than eat hot dogs and get paid to watch baseball.)

The group pretty much agreed that the Phillies’ Charlie Manuel would be the 30th seed. Just too old. And the Tigers’ Jim Leyland, though scrappy, wouldn’t rank much higher. For one thing, he’d need to grab a smoke within the first two minutes.

I wouldn’t know Cubs manager Mike Quade if he got me in a headlock.

Someone told me Quade has “crazy eyes.” He could have Bette Davis eyes and I still wouldn’t recognize him.

Somebody check the White Sox’s Ozzie Guillen for foreign objects. And keep the folding chairs away from him.

The Angels’ Mike Scioscia earned a vote as the baddest manager in the bigs, and the Nationals’ Jim Riggleman was described as being “ripped” by one admirer. Someone else pointed out that the Giants’ Bruce Bochy could do some serious damage if he led with his giant melon.

(A classic sportswriter’s question: “What would you rather have, $1 million or Bruce Bochy’s head full of nickels?”)

In the end, the Diamondbacks’ Kirk Gibson was declared the winner in our informal poll.

We figured that Gibson would dish out the most punishment and Scioscia could probably absorb the most before finally succumbing.

Feel free to jump into the ring and give me your picks.

Shameless plug alert: I’m appearing on Wall to Wall Baseball with Tom Davis and Dave Johnson beginning at noon on MASN.

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