CHICAGO - The Orioles wrap up their four-game series against the White Sox this afternoon, hoping to win it, but also knowing they can do no worse than a split.
Nick Markakis will be back in right field after serving as the designated hitter last night. He's 7-for-20 with four doubles, a home run and seven RBIs lifetime against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd.
We could find Endy Chavez in center field today, with Adam Jones serving as the DH. Chavez busted out of his 0-for-12 slump last night with an RBI double in the second inning.
I wonder if Matt Wieters will catch a day game after a night game. He's 2-for-14 with four strikeouts lifetime against Floyd.
Nolan Reimold is expected to make another start in left, though his home run streak ended last night. He did extend his hitting streak to nine games, during which he's batting .341 with three doubles, four homers and eight RBIs.
Reimold made two great plays in left field Tuesday night. He committed an error last night, which manager Buck Showalter blamed on poor footwork.
It can still be a mixed bag with Reimold, but there's been more good than bad lately.
Reimold is working hard with first base coach Wayne Kirby, who doubles as the club's outfield instructor, to improve the defensive aspect of his game
"It starts with spring training," Kirby said. "We work our butts off in spring training. We try to do a potpourri of everything, things that are going to happen in the game. I know it feels boring to the players. We take probably more ground balls than the infielders. And to get their running out of the way, we have them play up shallow and I hit balls over their head. That's how they get their running out of the way. I feel like that's more beneficial for them.
"You've got to look at the most important things that happen in games - ground balls, throwing people out. The other thing is fielding a ground ball the right way. And the backhand, the spins. And to me, the most important thing, paying attention to details, the defensive alignment."
I'm still trying to get past hearing Kirby use the word "potpourri." One of the highlights of this young season. But I digress ...
"Nolan's arm is above average when he gets rid of it quick," Kirby said. "The more he plays out there, the more comfortable he gets. Little, small things are going to happen and there's nothing you can do about that. It's probably a lack of concentration, bad hops. But overall, from September of last year to now, it's a huge improvement."
I floated the theory that Reimold might be more relaxed in the outfield because he's been having more success at the plate. Kirby didn't laugh in my face, so I might be on to something.
"If you're positive at the plate, you're going to be positive in the field. And if you're struggling at the plate, you may be thinking a little about hitting," Kirby said.
"You've got to separate both. Good players separate both."
For the White Sox:
Alejandro De Aza CF
Brent Lillibridge 3B
Adam Dunn 1B
Paul Konerko DH
Alex Rios RF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Dayan Viciedo LF
Tyler Flowers C
Eduardo Escobar 2B
Gavin Floyd RHP