Back to the Bronx

The Orioles trail the first-place New York Yankees by three games in the American League East. They begin a three-game series tonight in the Bronx.

You can do the math.

It's another monumental challenge, with the Orioles sending out two rookie starters and a 24-year-old with a career 10.69 ERA in four outings in the Bronx. But I wouldn't bet against Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Tillman. Not with the way this season is unfolding.

Gonzalez hasn't pitched since Aug. 20. That's some serious extra rest. Will he be refreshed or rusty?

Manager Buck Showalter has done an outstanding job of determining which pitchers need a breather and which ones need the ball. He used Pedro Strop in the ninth inning yesterday because the right-hander loses effectiveness if he sits too long.

miguel-gonzalez-white-side-throwing-sidebar.jpgThat explains Strop's arrival in a 5-1 game. Showalter is always a few moves ahead.

"If Pete sits more than two days, you're not going to like it too much command-wise," Showalter said. "I thought it was important to get Pete to throw 10 or 15 pitches before he goes into the next series.

"If you'd told me we'd come out of this series intact in the bullpen going into the first game in New York, I would have been real pleased with that. That was important that Pete got out there today."

Showalter will be going with his left-handed lineup in this series. The Yankees are starting right-handers Hiroki Kuroda tonight, Freddy Garcia on Saturday and David Phelps on Sunday. The latter game will be televised on TBS, as well as MASN.

You'll see lots of Chris Davis, who's been sitting in favor of Lew Ford when the opponent starts a left-hander. Showalter will choose between Omar Quintanilla and Ryan Flaherty at second base.

Is this series the biggest of Adam Jones' career?

"Every series is big for me," he replied. "It's the biggest series that you see me playing is what you should have said. It's not the biggest I'm playing. Every series is big for me. I'm not worried about anything. I'm just going out there and doing what I've got to do and help this team."

I've got a train to catch, but I'll be checking in later.

I'm one Twitter follower away from reaching 10,000 (@MASNroch). Should I offer a prize?

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