Orioles, Angels tied in the fifth (O's lose 3-2)

The Orioles have scored one run through five innings tonight and Ryan Flaherty is responsible for it.

Always worth mentioning when there are fans venting over tonight's lineup.

Why Flaherty? Why David Lough?

Let's start with Flaherty.

Third baseman Manny Machado is day-to-day with tightness in his lower back. Flaherty is the utility infielder on this team. He also is good with the glove at the hot corner.

Lough hasn't started since June 27. He went 2-for-4 in that game and collected a grand total of three at-bats over his next 12 appearances - none in his last seven.

How do I know this? I wrote about it this morning while suggesting that Lough might get a start.

I also noted how right-handers are batting .170 against Angels starter Jered Weaver this season and left-handers are batting .258. If manager Buck Showalter was looking for a spot to insert Lough, this would be it.

Showalter likes to keep his players "engaged." Lough has been used as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. By that measure, he's far busier than Delmon Young.

Flaherty doubled with one out in the third inning tonight, moved to third base on Nick Hundley's fly ball and scored on Nick Markakis' single to right field.

I've had fans on Twitter say this lineup would be unacceptable in the playoffs. Lough is batting .193, Flaherty .218. Well, it's not the playoffs. Machado can't play, Weaver is a nightmare for right-handed hitters and Lough was due for a start.

Continue to breathe normally.

I'll try to do the same.

Chris Tillman fell behind 1-0 in the first inning on Mike Trout's infield hit and Albert Pujols' RBI single.

Update: Well look at that. Lough singled in the sixth, stole second and scored on Adam Jones' single into right field to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.

Jones has 10 RBIs in the last five games.

Lough hadn't scored a run since July 6.

Update II: Tillman just notched his eighth quality start in his last nine outings, holding the Angels to one run over six innings.

The Orioles' rotation surrendered four earned runs in 20 1/3 innings in this three-game series. Is that good?

Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless seventh. He hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 13 appearances over 15 innings.

Update III: Hunter's streak ended and the Orioles' lead disappeared in the eighth when Josh Hamilton singled and scored on Erick Aybar's double.

Hunter left with the bases loaded and two outs, and Brian Matusz walked Kole Calhoun to give the Angels a 3-2 lead.

Three consecutive walks, one intentional, and the Orioles are behind. They're also questioning plate umpire Hal Gibson's strike zone.


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