Home today, gone tomorrow

Don't be fooled by that open date on your Orioles pocket schedule or refrigerator magnet. We're supposed to have a game today if it stops raining long enough to get the tarp off the field and separate the animals that have already been paired up.

The Orioles will fly out to Toronto for a three-game series that starts tomorrow. They're one and done against the Yankees at Camden Yards. Or the fifth game between the two teams this season will be postponed because of the weather. It could go either way.

No matter how hard it rains, I'm heading to the ballpark this morning for the first time since the Great Traffic Jam of 2011. I can only hope for a less stressful commute.

This is a big start for Alfredo Simon because they're all big. Manager Buck Showalter needs to be convinced that Simon deserves to compete for a spot in the rotation next spring, or at least a spot on a 12-man pitching staff.

It's been a tough sell.

Simon turned in back-to-back quality starts, holding the Yankees to three runs and four hits over seven innings on Aug. 29, but he gave up six runs and seven hits over five innings in Saturday's outing at Tropicana Field. Showalter was clearly disappointed in Simon's failure to build on the progress he made in those two previous starts. He's brought up Simon's age (30) and how the right-hander should be more established by this point in his career.

Showalter continues to wait. Patience is wearing thin.

Simon will need to pitch carefully to Nick Swisher, who's 4-for-7 with two homers and four RBIs lifetime against him. Mark Teixeira is 4-for-8 with a double, home run and three RBIs.

The Orioles are running into a hot pitcher in Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova, who hasn't lost since June 12, a span of 12 starts. He's 8-0 with a 3.29 ERA in his last eight games.

Vladimir Guerrero is 4-for-6 with a double and home run against Nova. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are both 3-for-7 - Jones has two RBIs, Markakis has two doubles - and Matt Wieters is 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.

The way Nova is pitching, a rainout might not be such a bad thing.

I'll leave you with this question: Why aren't there more left-handed throwing catchers?

I found a list in the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers that contained only three southpaws since Pittsburgh's Homer Hillebrand in 1905: The Cubs' Dale Long in 1958, the White Sox's Mike Squires in 1980 and the Pirates' Benny Distefano in 1989. And they combined for seven games.

What's the drawback?

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