Jul 23, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: The Shifting Sands of a Baseball Season

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At the beginning of every baseball season, fans and writers who follow teams like the Baltimore Orioles ponder over who will comprise the 25-man roster for opening day. At that point, the composition of the team looks very much “set.”  There might be a couple of changes imagined, and everyone knows some injuries are likely to happen, but the amount of upset and change that occurs over the course of 162 games is completely outside the realm of imagination at that point.

The shifting sands of the Baltimore Orioles continue all about them. It is a constant juggling act that Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette orchestrate on a daily basis to put the best possible lineup on the field when the schedule and the weather allow them to actually play.

The schedule and the weather have conspired against the Orioles again, with the game yesterday being rained out and rescheduled for September. Along with the injuries to J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado, there is some more lineup shuffling going on.

Cord Phelps is being brought up from Norfolk to likely join the O’s and add some infield depth. Would you have believed me a week ago if I told you that Cord Phelps would be on the 25-man roster on August 13th?  Several other names would have come to mind before this one, so there must be a story behind this that is not generally seen.

The rainout also shifts the pitching matchup. The Orioles will keep Chris Tillman on schedule while pushing back Wei-Yin Chen. This plays to the strengths of each.

The Yankees have decided to not use Shane Greene, but to rather skip him and send Michael Pineda to the mound instead. He has not pitched since April, when he was found with pine tar and suspended—during which he was injured pitching a workout.

This strikes me as a desperate move on the part of the Yankees so as to not lose another game on the Orioles. They are currently seven games behind, while Toronto has fallen to 6.5 after a loss to Seattle last night.

Honestly, this also strikes me as more risky on the part of the Yanks. The Orioles were totally shut down by Greene the last time they saw him. And who knows what to expect from a pitcher in his first game after an extended layoff?

My guess is that Chris Davis will be at third base tonight, with Ryan Flaherty at shortstop and Yankee killer Jonathan Schoop at second. Did you ever see a happier baseball player than Schoop was after his first home run at Oriole Park? Steve Pearce will likely be picking the ball at first base.

It would be a great opportunity for the Orioles to win this game and drop the Yankees far enough behind that they need to only be thinking about stealing a wildcard spot.

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