The Orioles expected to face John Lackey today, but they'll get rookie right-hander Allen Webster instead after the Red Sox clinched home field advantage in the playoffs yesterday following Oakland's loss.
Webster is 1-2 with a 9.55 ERA in seven games (six starts), with 37 hits, 15 walks, 21 strikeouts and seven home runs in 27 1/3 innings.
The Orioles and Yankees are tied for third place in the American League East with identical 84-77 records. Yes, this game matters.
Buck Showalter said today's lineup is the toughest he's written as Orioles manager. He has a few versions crumpled up in the trash can in his office. Lots of guys unavailable or attempting to play through aches and pains.
Showalter considered sitting Chris Davis for the finale, but he's been named Most Valuable Oriole and fans are receiving his bobblehead. He's in the lineup.
Jonathan Schoop informed Showalter before first pitch last night that he could play. He's in today's lineup.
Adam Jones has a sore wrist - he dropped his bat after fouling off a pitch last night because of the pain - and his shoulder is "barking," according to Showalter. He's not in the lineup.
"He's pretty sore, between his feet, his shin, his knee, his wrist, his shoulder," Showalter said.
Davis is one strikeout away from 200 for the season, a milestone he'd most certainly like to avoid.
The whiffs didn't influence the voting for MVO. Davis should have been the unanimous choice, but he fell one vote shy.
"He's set a real high bar that I hope everybody here realizes," Showalter said. "I love what he's done defensively and how he's handled all the attention. It would be real easy to give yourself a little pass on some phase of the game, as good a year offensively as he's having, but he hasn't. He's really run the bases well, too. This guy's scored from first on doubles, worked on his secondary leads. This guy wants to be a complete player.
"I always say nobody plays the game harder than Jonesy. Chris has gone down the line consistently hard. We're lucky to have been able to watch him."
Kevin Gausman is deciding whether to pitch in the instructional league or Arizona Fall League. The Orioles are leaving it up to him.
Showalter wants his players to get some rest after the final out. Don't think about baseball, don't do anything related to baseball, for a month.
"This shutdown period is very important," Showalter said. "The body wasn't designed for this. You've got to let your body rest. Pitchers, position players.
"I know what happens to me. The first three or four days, you just sit there and stare at a ceiling, and at 7 o'clock you feel like you should be somewhere. And it really hits you what's been going on. The body is a remarkable thing, but at some point it kind of goes, 'Really?' So they need to get away from it. They really do. Let the scar tissue form."