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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: at Rangers, 8:05

The Orioles face a lefty for the second game in a row, but unfortunately this time it’s the Rangers’ ace, Mike Minor. 

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

After last’s night Little League fiasco in which both sides combined for 4 errors and 23 runs, here’s hoping Orioles pitching can keep Rangers’ bats a little quieter. At least, the Orioles better hope so if they’re to have any chance for a win tonight.

The odds aren’t good that Baltimore will score a ton of runs off of Rangers ace Mike Minor (5-4, 2.74 ERA, 80 K) (look at all those strikeouts), who at 31 is putting up career numbers. At 3.7 WAR, he trails only Cody Bellinger and Mike Trout in the Majors, which is terrifying to contemplate. (Rumor has it that Minor may become a trade piece for Texas this summer if they become sellers.)

Facing a lefty for the second night in a row, Brandon Hyde hasn’t made too many tweaks to last night’s lineup. Chris Davis, mired in an 0-for-23 slump, is out, which means you’ll see Trey Mancini at first base and DJ Stewart getting a chance to bust out of his 0-for-17 streak. Renato Núñez is in at DH, so whatever was ailing his leg last night apparently wasn’t that serious. With the left-handed Minor on the mound, Severino gets the start at catcher, pushing back Chance Sisco’s 2019 debut until tomorrow.

Blessedly, Rangers hitters have been worse against left-handed pitching, with a line of .240 BA/.313 OBP/.737 SLG compared to .264/.344/.815 against righties. Also of potential utility for the Orioles’ home run-prone staff: Texas has faced LHPs in about 40% of their plate appearances, but only 20 of their 87 total home runs have come against them. Still, this is a formidable lineup, even without team leader Joey Gallo, who’s on the 10-day IL. Shin-soo Choo has been hot recently, .393 (11-for-28) with two homers and six RBI in his past seven games, including a shot last night off of Bundy in the first inning.

And so the problem remains: even if the O’s can scratch a few runs off one of the AL’s most dominant pitchers (a big if) and get a good start from Means, there is just no such thing as a safe lead with this bullpen, as we saw last night. A thought: maybe Means can just pitch nine himself?

Orioles lineup:

3B Hanser Alberto

1B Trey Mancini

DH Renato Núñez

LF Dwight Smith Jr.

C Pedro Severino

2B Jonathan Villar

RF DJ Stewart

CF Keon Broxton

SS Richie Martin

LHP John Means

Texas lineup:

DH Shin-soo Choo

CF Delino DeShields

SS Elvis Andrus

LF Hunter Pence

RF Nomar Mazara

2B Logan Forsythe

3B Asdrubal Cabrera

1B Ronald Guzmán

C Jeff Mathis

LHP Mike Minor