Thoughts on tonight’s lineup

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Delmon Young is batting .296 this season. He’s collected a hit in five of his last six games - he failed as a pinch-hitter Friday night - and has homered in two of his last five games.

The Orioles are facing a left-hander tonight. Young seems like the obvious choice to serve as the designated hitter, with Nelson Cruz starting in left field.

Or is he?

Young is 2-for-21 (.095) lifetime against Tampa Bay’s Erik Bedard, the former Oriole who’s making his 13th appearance tonight, including his 12th start. Using a much smaller sample size, Steve Pearce is 1-for-2 with a double against Bedard.

What to do?

Manager Buck Showalter most likely will sit Young based on those numbers.

Cruz is 7-for-21 (.333) with a double and two home runs versus Bedard. Adam Jones, acquired by the Orioles in the Bedard trade, is 6-for-12 (.500) with two doubles. Nick Markakis is 3-for-9 (.333).

Matt Wieters is 5-for-11 (.455) with a double and two homers, but he’s undergoing elbow surgery today in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Manny Machado has one hit in his last nine at-bats after going 6-for-11 with three doubles. He batted seventh in two games before moving back up to second for the past three. Should he be lowered again?

The bottom third of the order isn’t offering much in the way of offensive production. Last night’s game ended with David Lough batting .182, Ryan Flaherty .219 and Caleb Joseph .123. Jonathan Schoop, who will start at second base tonight against a southpaw, is batting .224.

Bedard hasn’t gone more than six innings in any start this season. He hasn’t pushed past the fourth in four starts or the fifth in six starts.

Bedard is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles. He’s 9-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) at Tropicana Field.

Miguel Gonzalez is coming off the disabled list today to make his 11th start for the Orioles, including his seventh on the road, where he’s 1-3 with a 5.29 ERA. He’s registered a quality start in his last two outings away from home.

Gonzalez is 3-3 with a 3.55 ERA in nine starts against Tampa Bay. Most important to Showalter, he’s 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts at The Trop.

Showalter aligned his rotation so that Gonzalez could pitch here.

Desmond Jennings is 5-for-19 (.263) with three home runs against Gonzalez. Ben Zobrist is 3-for-21 (.143), Evan Longoria is 5-for-18 (.278) with a home run and Jose Molina is 4-for-14 (.286) with a homer.

The Orioles rotation has produced eight consecutive quality starts and 10 in the last 11 games.

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