**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles battle King Felix in the second of a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners**
BALTIMORE — Following one of the craziest games in recent memory, the Orioles face the daunting task of battling against 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez in the second of a three-game set at 7:05.
The challenge grew even greater this afternoon with the news that right fielder Nick Markakis is out of the lineup due to a stomach virus. It hurts even more when looking at Markakis’ past success against the dominating Seattle right-hander, a .464 average in 28 career at-bats. The high-energy Felix Pie will take his place and bat second in the Baltimore order.
Another lineup change comes via Buck Showalter, who has replaced the struggling Mark Reynolds with Robert Andino at third base this evening. Reynolds is mired in a 9-for-71 slump (.127) and has just five runs batted in in his last 23 games. To say the season’s first 34 games have been a struggle for Reynolds would be an understatement, so a mental break — perhaps for everyone involved — is definitely in order.
Chris Tillman takes the bump for the Orioles as the young right-hander will try to reverse his early-season struggles. His 7.16 ERA ranks last among Orioles starters, and with Brian Matusz’s return — and possibly the return of Alfredo Simon as well — right around the corner, his or Brad Bergesen’s days in the starting rotation may be numbered.
With Baltimore relievers pitching seven innings in Tuesday night’s 13-inning contest, the Orioles are dealing with a taxed bullpen, with Jason Berken and Clay Rapada the only relievers not to work in the series opener against Seattle. Showalter revealed in his pre-game comments that Bergesen will be available in a long-relief role. The right-handed starter skipped his regular bullpen session this afternoon and can pitch in relief if needed. He is still slated to start Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay, but that could change depending on how Tillman fares against the Mariners.
Considering the state of the Orioles bullpen and Tillman’s tenuous hold on a spot in the rotation, an encouraging start is long overdue. A win against King Felix, however, might be a lot to ask.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
1B Justin Smoak
C Miguel Olivo
DH Jack Cust
2B Adam Kennedy
LF Carlos Peguero
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders
SP Felix Hernandez (4-2, 3.02 ERA)
2B Brian Roberts
RF Felix Pie
1B Derrek Lee
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Robert Andino
SP Chris Tillman (1-3, 7.16 ERA)
As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!