It sure is an interesting lineup for the Orioles on Wednesday night against Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox – based on who is in it and who is not.
And the biggest news to come from manager Buck Showalter’s pregame press conference is who could be shelved for the remainder of the season.
Here’s a rundown:
Closer Zach Britton had a MRI on his balky left knee as part of the club’s annual season-exit interviews and team physician, Dr. Michael Jacobs, is expected to compare it with other MRIs taken of Britton’s knee, which has bothered the reliever off-and-on for a few years.
Showalter said he expects there is no new injury, but it is possible Britton will be shut down for the final 10 games of the season. More will be known after Jacobs’ consultation – we’ll likely know following Wednesday’s game — but Showalter said he doesn’t think surgery will be needed and any discomfort is expected to be healed with rest this offseason.
Shortstop Tim Beckham is out of the lineup because he had an abscess wisdom tooth extracted. Beckham has basically been the everyday starter at shortstop since he arrived with the team after a July 31 trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Veteran J.J. Hardy will get another start at shortstop – his second this week and second since going on the disabled list in June with a right wrist fracture. He gets to face lefty Chris Sale, a perennial Cy Young candidate.
“It is what it is,” he said laughing. “At this point, I’m just going to be grinding, it doesn’t matter who I’m facing. When you’re not getting consistent at-bats it’s more of a grind. Nothing will change. I’ll go out there and compete and whatever happens, happens.”
Third baseman Manny Machado is out of the lineup due to an illness – sounds like a combination of a cold and the flu — that he’s been dealing with for a while now. He could be sent home before Wednesday’s game. He is listed as day-to-day. Machado had played in 147 of the club’s 152 games so far this year.
Rookie right fielder Austin Hays is leading off for the first time in his big league career. Showalter said it really was a move out of necessity and not specifically because Showalter wanted to see what Hays can do in the leadoff spot. Although speedy, Hays’ power makes him more of a projection for the middle of the order.
Rookie lefty Tanner Scott will pitch in a game before the season is over, Showalter said. It likely will be in relief, but having him start for a few innings – like Scott did in Double-A Bowie – has not been ruled out.
Orioles lineup versus Sale: Hays 9, Mancini 7, Schoop 4, Jones 8, Castillo 2, Trumbo DH, Davis 3, Hardy 6, Flaherty 5. Miley 1.