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Saturday night Orioles game thread: vs. Rays, 7:05

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The Orioles have been eliminated officially. It would still be nice if John Means can pitch well tonight.

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

The Orioles were mathematically eliminated from the wild card race last night with 33 games left to play. There’s a John Mellencamp song in there somewhere - the season must go on long after the thrill of baseball is gone.

If it makes you feel any better, the Orioles are not the only team to be eliminated. The Tigers were also eliminated last night. Maybe that doesn’t make you feel any better if you really want the Orioles to get the #1 pick next year. I get it. If I have to watch the Orioles stink up the joint night in and night out, if I have to be a fan of a team that gets mathematically eliminated before September, then dang it, they might as well be the worst of the worst, right?

The O’s are already the worst of the worst when it comes to giving up home runs, as you know. That’s not how they settle the draft order, though. The Orioles are up a mere half-game over those Tigers, who managed to beat the Twins last night, embarrassingly enough for the Twins.

Draft picks or not, it would be nice if some of the players who could potentially be a part of the next good Orioles team play well for the remainder of the season. That includes starting pitcher John Means, who hasn’t done too well since the All-Star break.

Rio Ruiz, tonight’s third baseman, has a .936 OPS over the last 14 days. He could paint himself into the fringes of the picture with a strong finish. And guys like Hanser Alberto and Anthony Santander could stay on the radar if they keep doing what they have been doing up to this point as well. The team is a hopeless cause, but things can still happen that matter for the future, so it’s not hard to root for those outcomes.

In case you weren’t watching last night, or if you need a reminder, the uniforms are going to look weird for MLB’s Player’s Weekend.

ORIOLES

  1. Hanser Alberto - 2B
  2. Jonathan Villar - SS
  3. Anthony Santander - CF
  4. Renato Núñez - DH
  5. DJ Stewart - RF
  6. Pedro Severino - C
  7. Jace Peterson - LF
  8. Chris Davis - 1B
  9. Rio Ruiz - 3B

With John Means pitching. It’s a rest day for Trey Mancini, and in his absence, an opportunity for Chris Davis to continue his march up the career strikeout list. He’s got to get 23 more to reach 16th place, where Bobby Abreu and Derek Jeter currently sit.

RAYS

  1. Matt Duffy - 3B
  2. Tommy Pham - LF
  3. Austin Meadows - DH
  4. Avisail Garcia - RF
  5. Travis d’Arnaud - C
  6. Jesús Aguilar - 1B
  7. Kevin Kiermaier - CF
  8. Willy Adames - SS
  9. Michael Brosseau - 2B

Jose Alvarado is the Rays opener. You can tell he’s the opener because he’s starting a game for the first time all season and he has pitched 29.2 innings in 34 games.