Orioles get another crack at Lester tonight

BOSTON - Teams might want to steer clear of the Orioles.

The Red Sox come to Camden Yards for the final series of 2011, get knocked out of the playoff race and lose their manager and general manager.

The Yankees host the Orioles in a three-game series this week, lose the last two games and lose their closer to a torn ACL.

Beware.

Mariano Rivera suffered the injury yesterday while shagging fly balls during batting practice, a routine he's stuck with throughout his career, which may have officially ended.

The Orioles can consider themselves lucky that their closer only spent four days in the hospital with food poisoning. They got off easy.

The Red Sox are having their own health issues these days. Josh Beckett was scratched from Saturday afternoon's start with a stiff lat muscle. Kevin Youkilis went on the disabled list with a lower back issue. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford also are gone.

Jon Lester is still around, which is bad news for the Orioles. He's 14-0 with a 2.36 ERA in 18 career starts against them. However, I don't recall him picking up the win in the last game of 2011.

Lester is 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA this season despite three quality starts out of five outings. He's gone at least seven innings in four of them. He blanked the White Sox over seven innings in his last start.

Robert Andino is 4-for-10 with a double against Lester, and you know the Red Sox will be thrilled to see him. Maybe he can present each one with a "Curse of the Andino" T-shirt.

J.J. Hardy is 3-for-5 with a double and home run against Lester. Ronnie Paulino is 2-for-2 with a home run. Might be a good night to use him as the designated hitter.

Matt Wieters is 8-for-25 (.320) with a double. Pretty sure he'll be behind the plate again.

The forecast for tonight's game is miserable. I don't have any inside weather information, but I've heard that it's supposed to rain. And the view from my hotel room confirms it.

But at least it's also cold.

I'll have lots more later today, including an update on Nolan Reimold (who's 4-for-12 with a double off Lester), so check back with me.


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