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Monday night Orioles game thread: vs. Royals, 7:05

Are the Orioles alive in the wild card chase? Sure, maybe. But they won’t be if they get their butts beaten by the Royals in this series, starting with Ubaldo on the mound tonight.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline has come and gone and not only did the Orioles not sell anybody, they actually bought someone right at the deadline, acquiring shortstop Tim Beckham from the Rays. This doesn’t exactly mean they’re all-in on the season. They didn’t give up any of their best prospects for any of the moves they made. But they’re definitely not conceding.

Perhaps that’s because they’re still lurking in the periphery of the wild card race. They’re 5.5 games behind the team they’ll play tonight, the Royals. This does, in effect, make it something of a must-win series for the Orioles if they want to entertain any hopes beyond the next 72 hours or so.

In truth, just about every one of their remaining series is going to be must-win from here on. They don’t feel that far out of it, but somebody is going to get hot - the Royals have already started to do so - and the O’s have a lot of teams to pass before they can even take aim at the Royals anyway. That’s going to take a lot of winning, and a lot of winning just feels unlikely with this starting rotation.

Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching tonight, which is a big part of the uncertainty. If he doesn’t get booted from the rotation, he’s going to start 20% of the Orioles remaining games! They have to win about 60% of their remaining games, so having guys like Ubaldo and Wade Miley and Chris Tillman struggling in there... it’s not likely, you know?

Still, our guys are our guys and that’s true even if they’ve made us unhappy so far this season. It’ll be nice if they can pull off some kind of surprise and at least salvage a decent season out of this year even if they don’t make the postseason. Maybe they can get a little way towards that with a win tonight.

Today's Lineups

Whit Merrifield - 2B Adam Jones - CF
Lorenzo Cain - CF Manny Machado - 3B
Melky Cabrera - RF Jonathan Schoop - 2B
Eric Hosmer - 1B Trey Mancini - DH
Salvador Perez - C Chris Davis - 1B
Mike Moustakas - 3B Welington Castillo - C
Brandon Moss - DH Joey Rickard - RF
Alcides Escobar - SS Ruben Tejada - SS
Alex Gordon - LF Craig Gentry - LF
Danny Duffy - LHP Ubaldo Jimenez - RHP