Is there a silver lining at Fenway Park?

I would never suggest that the Orioles are catching a team at a good time. Not the way they’re playing. But they won’t have to face Boston starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, and they won’t have to pitch to Carl Crawford.

Crawford is expected to be activated from the disabled list on July 18, when the Red Sox visit Camden Yards. All good things must come to an end.

Adrian Gonzalez, the American League’s Player of the Month for June, missed last night’s game with a stiff neck, but he’s expected back in the lineup tonight.

The Orioles will get left-hander Andrew Miller tonight, Josh Beckett tomorrow and John Lackey on Saturday. The Red Sox haven’t named a starter for Sunday, taking a page from the Orioles’ book.

The Tigers made Miller the sixth-overall pick in the 2006 draft. The Orioles would like to make him disappear in the early innings.

Miller has faced the Orioles once in his career, holding them to one run and one hit over seven innings. Mark Reynolds is 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and three walks against him, but I’m expecting Vladimir Guerrero to stay in the cleanup spot through the weekend.

Jake Arrieta has faced the Red Sox once in his career, allowing three runs and six hits, with no walks and five strikeouts, in five innings. Crawford is 2-for-4 with a home run against him, but he’s not a factor tonight. Gonzalez is 1-for-2 with a double. J.D. Drew is 1-for-3 with a home run. David Ortiz is 1-for-2 with a double and RBI.

Arrieta has made one start since being skipped because of a sore elbow, and it was ruined by the grand slam he served up to Atlanta’s David Ross in the fifth inning.

Orioles starters have posted a 6.85 ERA in their last 22 games. Only two starters have completed six innings in the last 12 games.

Arrieta will try to make it three tonight.

I quickly wanted to revisit the subject of the Orioles’ lack of pitching depth. Brian Matusz was supposed to be in the rotation. So was Brad Bergesen. And Chris Tillman, perhaps. Justin Duchscherer was projected to be the No. 3 or 4 starter after he signed.

Matusz went 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last eight starts in 2010. Bergesen posted a 2.85 ERA in his last 12 starts. Tillman had a 4.18 ERA in five September starts, which would be ace-like in today’s rotation.

The regression of the young starters, whether related to injuries or other factors, put this club in a major bind, and Arrieta’s inflamed elbow only complicated the situation.

I don’t know how many Baltimore Colts fans read this blog, but I was saddened by the news that Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey passed away.

Every time I heard his name, I pictured him catching the deflected pass and galloping into the end zone in Super Bowl V. He was one of the greats.


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