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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: at Diamondbacks, 9:40

Old teammates reunite, and Dylan Bundy comes off the IL.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For the brave Birdland faithful staying up to watch the Orioles’ Great Western Roadtrip unfold, Game 2 kicks off tonight at 9:40 p.m. On the bump for the Diamondbacks is one Merrill Kelly, a 30-year-old rookie who spent the last four seasons pitching in South Korea before landing a two-year, $5.5 million contract with Arizona. Kelly has a 3.77 ERA (4.25 FIP) with 92 strikeouts, 31 walks, and 16 home runs allowed over 20 games this season. Pretty cool story. (I still hope we beat him.)

Against the righty Kelly, Chris Davis is back in the lineup—so my transparent hope is that Adam Jones hits a single so he and Davis get to share a hug at first base. In other news, the Santander-in-CF experiment continues, Núñez’s power is keeping him at cleanup (and hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, he’s playing 3B), and Hanser Alberto gets to test his mettle against a righty. Also, in case you hadn’t heard, Dylan Bundy is really excited to bat—and believes he can do so from both sides of the plate. (Don’t believe me? Google “Dylan Bundy batting” and you get “Ambidextrous.”)

This is Bundy’s first start since being activated today off the IL. Apparently he’d been suffering some mild soreness in his right knee for months, but didn’t let the coaches know. Well… you do you, buddy. To make room on the roster for Bundy, the Orioles optioned Branden Kline back to AAA today.

Bundy’s last start, a seven-run walloping on July 12 against Tampa Bay, was quite a shame, because pre-Break he’d been trending upward—in effectiveness, not ERA. After that one inning, the ERA jumped a whole 0.63 points to 5.28. Whatever that was, let’s hope the cortisone shots got rid of it.

Bundy has seen a couple of these Diamondbacks hitters before. Eduardo Escobar, a long-time Twin, is 3-for-8 against him with 2 RBIs, former Tiger Alex Avila is 2-for-3, Wilmer Flores is 1-for-2, and the scary Ketel Marte is 2-for-2 against Bundy—not to mention that he’s got two hits in each of his last five games.

With their stacked lineup and four, count ‘em, four starting pitchers with a sub-4.00 ERA, it’s crazy to me that the Diamondbacks are just 51-50 and might end up sellers this season. For now, though, they’re still in contention for a wild card spot, so unlike us, they’re playing for something other than next year’s draft. Let’s see if the Birds can play the spoiler tonight.

Orioles lineup

  1. Jonathan Villar SS
  2. Trey Mancini RF
  3. Chance Sisco C
  4. Renato Núñez 3B
  5. Dwight Smith Jr. LF
  6. Anthony Santander CF
  7. Chris Davis 1B
  8. Hanser Alberto 2B
  9. Dylan Bundy RHP

Diamondbacks lineup

  1. Jarrod Dyson LF
  2. Ketel Marte CF
  3. Eduardo Escobar 2B
  4. Christian Walker 1B
  5. Adam Jones RF
  6. Jake Lamb 3B
  7. Nick Ahmed SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Merrill Kelly RHP