|What's Bobby V done this time? (US Presswire)|
The Orioles and Yankees are of course battling down to the wire for the AL East title. The two teams headed into the final series of the regular season tied for first place, so the margin for error is small indeed. The O's had to know they were going to have a tougher go of it, as they were wrapping up on the road against the Rays while the Yankees were hosting the listless Red Sox.
With that said, the Orioles are reportedly upset about the "mailing it in" quality of lineup that Boston trotted out in their Monday night loss to the Yanks -- a loss that helped drop Baltimore to one game back with two to play. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes:
According to a major league source, Orioles folks weren't thrilled to see the Red Sox lineup Monday night. Dustin Pedroia was out with a jammed left finger and Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been nursing a lat strain, also was held out against Sabathia.
Said another major league official, "The Yankees have five potential Hall of Famers at the top of their order. The Red Sox have guys who don't even know where the Hall of Fame is."
It should be noted that Pedroia's absence was fully justified, as his finger turned out to be broken (an injury he suffered, coincidentally, against the Orioles on Sunday).
For point of reference, here's the full Sox lineup from their 10-2 loss:
To be sure, that's a certifiable skeleton crew. Still, while I always willing to unload on the thoroughly unlikeable 2012 Red Sox, this sounds like a little too much mewling from Baltimore (to the extent Cafardo's report is accurate, that is). It's a 162-game season, and the Orioles, miraculous as their year has been, had plenty of chances to take care of their own business.
Still, it'd be cool of the Sox to, you know, at least give the appearance of putting up a fight. To that end, here's Tuesday night's lineup, courtesy of CBSSports.com Insider Danny Knobler, who's on-site in the Bronx: Ellsbury CF, Pedroia 2B, Nava LF, Ross RF, Loney 1B, Saltalamacchia C, Lavarnway DH, Ciriaco 3B, Iglesias SS, Lester P.
Pedroia, as you may have already surmised, is playing despite the fractured finger. "We're playing to win," Pedroia told Knobler. "It's not like you all think, that we're packing it in."
Pedroia's presence in the lineup means that the Sox are down to four players who opened the year at Pawtucket. Progress!