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Orioles Game 79 Game Thread: at Mariners, 10:10

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

At five games, the Orioles presently have the smallest lead in the six MLB divisions. Oh, sure, three of the divisions have leads of six games, and five games is almost six games, but still. It's kind of interesting that things are so spread out right now. Any one of the races - well, maybe not the NL Central - could end up being neck and neck by season's end. For now, there is some separation.

Can the Orioles do their part to add to the separation tonight? The team chasing them, the Red Sox, will be facing the pathetic Angels for the next three games, at home, while the Orioles take on a better Mariners team on the road. For tonight in particular, knuckleballing sensation Steven Wright has helped Boston into the win column before the Orioles will even get to play.

It's a new month for the Orioles. Maybe they could chase the July home run record too? That would be fun, although winning games is more fun still. Here's hoping that tonight's O's starter, Kevin Gausman, can follow up on his last outing, a very good start against the Rays. Most teams don't have an offense as bad as the Rays, though. Don't get excited until he does it against somebody. The Mariners are at least kinda somebody.

Somebody else who is somebody is Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc, once a hot-shot Padres prospect (if you've ever read Dirk Hayhurst's books, I'm fairly certain LeBlanc is "Frenchy") who has bounced around the league and even had a 2015 stint in Japan. It seems to have helped him, because here, at age 31, he was so dominant in the Blue Jays Triple-A rotation that the Mariners decided to make a small trade for him and plug him into the big league rotation.

LeBlanc is a lefty, and worse than that, a soft-tossing lefty. Expect a second straight loss, is what I'm saying. Maybe they can salvage a series split tomorrow and Sunday.

Today's Lineups

Adam Jones - CF Leonys Martin - CF
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Seth Smith - LF
Manny Machado - 3B Robinson Cano - 2B
Chris Davis - 1B Nelson Cruz - RF
Mark Trumbo - DH Kyle Seager - 3B
Matt Wieters - C Dae-Ho Lee - 1B
J.J. Hardy - SS Adam Lind - DH
Hyun Soo Kim - LF Chris Iannetta - C
Joey Rickard - RF Ketel Marte - SS
Kevin Gausman - RHP Wade LeBlanc - LHP