If you ask me, the Yankees still haven't seen the real Cory Lidle. In his first start he pitched a mid-week day game during a heat wave with field temperatures reaching 120 degrees. Lidle held the Blue Jays to just one run in that start, but was understandably pulled after the sixth inning despite having thrown just 80 pitches. In his last start, he pitched with a stomach virus and struggled through four innings, leaving after throwing 79 pitches and allowing three Angel runs. Still, despite those complications, Lidle sports a tidy 3.60 ERA as a Yankee having allowed just eight hits and struck out eight in his ten innings for the team.
Tonight, he should be healthy and the temperature should be in the low 80s and falling. If there is any complication it shouldn't affect Lidle directly, but rather the offense. Twenty-two-year-old Canadian lefty Adam Loewen, who one-hit the Yanks over 6 1/3 innings less than two weeks ago, takes the hill for the Orioles tonight. Of course, the likelihood of Loewen repeating his one-hit performance is very small, especially in light of the pounding he received in Fenway in his last turn (2 1/2 IP, 6 R, 76 pitches). Here's hoping things swing the Yankees way.
Incidentally, it appears that Octavio Dotel has been activated (with, I assume, Jose Veras being sent down to make room). Here's Dotel's aggregate line from his circuitous rehab appearances, which were spread across five leagues, from the New York-Penn League all the way up to the International League:
12 G, 12 1/3 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 19 K
The big four in the Yankee bullpen have been great of late, but with 14 games in the next 13 days, it sure won't hurt to add those kind of numbers to their mix.