ARLINGTON, Texas - The Atlanta Braves already posted their lineup for today’s National League wild card game. It actually was tweeted yesterday.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn’t in quite the same hurry. We won’t know his lineup until later this afternoon, but it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out, based on the pattern that he’s established.
Four of Showalter’s last six lineups have been identical, all of them with the Orioles facing a right-handed starter. The two exceptions came when the Red Sox started left-hander Felix Doubront and catcher Matt Wieters took a one-day paternity leave.
The last four lineups have read as follows:
Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B
The Rangers are starting right-hander Yu Darvish tonight, which should lead Showalter to again break out his left-handed lineup. The only possible exception would come if he decides to play Andino at second base, which used to be a regular occurrence.
Andino has six at-bats since Sept. 24. He’s become a defensive replacement, as Showalter continues to change his mind about his second basemen.
Andino was the regular before Brian Roberts came off the disabled list. Ryan Flaherty forced his way into the lineup, then disappeared after the Orioles acquired Omar Quintanilla. Andino resurfaced, then was pushed aside by Flaherty.
What the heck happened to Quintanilla? He’s got four at-bats since Sept. 5 and one since Sept. 18. He doesn’t have a hit since Aug. 14. I called off the search when he entered a recent game as a pinch-runner.
Quintanilla doesn’t figure to be included on the wild card roster, but it’s only speculation until Major League Baseball or the Orioles send out a release this morning.
Flaherty’s Rule 5 status doesn’t matter in the playoffs. The Orioles don’t have to keep him on the roster, and a month ago I would have guaranteed that he was coming off. Now he’s facing the opponent’s right-handers.
None of the Orioles have a history with Darvish. No small sample sizes. Nothing except video and scouting reports and word of mouth.
Ian Kinsler is 10-for-24 with two doubles, four homers and eight RBIs against left-hander Joe Saunders. Michael Young is 10-for-28 with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Geovany Soto is 4-for-6 with a double and home run. Josh Hamilton is 4-for-10 with a triple, home run and six RBIs.
Note: If the Orioles win tonight, they would host the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Game 2 would be Monday at 8:07 p.m.
Game 3 would be played Wednesday in New York, the time TBA.