NEW YORK - I’m writing quickly this morning because I left my power cord in the Yankee Stadium press box yesterday and my laptop battery is running low.
You may read slowly, however. No pressure.
J.J. Hardy has missed three of the last four games due to spasms and tightness in his lower back. If he’s still on the shelf today, with little or no improvement, it’s perfectly fine to express concern and speculate about a trip to the disabled list.
Losing Hardy and Manny Machado on the left side of the infield would be less than ideal for an Orioles team already struggling to score runs and push their starters past the midpoint of each game.
Manager Buck Showalter was handcuffed yesterday without Hardy being available off the bench. He may have pinch-hit for Ryan Flaherty in the seventh with left-hander Matt Thornton on the mound. He may have pinch-run for Matt Wieters.
I’d suggest that Wieters stay on the field as long as possible today. He’s 11-for-29 (.379) lifetime against Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova, with three doubles, four home runs and seven RBIs.
Chris Davis is 8-for-23 (.348) with a double, three homers and nine RBIs. Nick Markakis is 11-for-34 (.324) with three doubles and a home run.
Fans screaming for Wieters to give up switch-hitting must be puzzled by his production from the left side this season. Small sample size, of course, but he’s 7-for-18 with a home run and two RBIs.
Wieters went 2-for-4 yesterday against right-handers Hiroki Kuroda and Shawn Kelley in the Orioles’ 4-2 loss to the Yankees.
Before yesterday, Wieters was a career .282/.344/.488 hitter from the right side, with 32 home runs in 678 at-bats. He was a career .245/.310/.394 hitter from the left side, with 56 homers in 1,690 at-bats.
Wei-Yin Chen makes his second start of 2014. He’s 1-3 with a 5.58 ERA in seven games against the Yankees, and 0-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three games in the Bronx.
Brett Gardner is 5-for-9 with two doubles and a home run versus Chen.