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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Marlins, 7:35

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High off their sweep of one highly-ranked Florida baseball team, can the Orioles make it four in a row against another that was supposed to be bad and is now almost unrecognizable due to a viral outbreak?

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies
No touching!
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

These days, what with pandemics, flooding, and a tropical storm bearing down on the East Coast, it feels like we might as well be living in the Old Testament. If it starts raining frogs in the fifth inning, . . . well, you can just say I called it.

That’s assuming the Orioles and the Marlins actually make it through the first of a hastily clumped together four-game series at Camden Yards, including a doubleheader tomorrow. The forecast says there’s a 20% chance of rain, but the flash-flood warning is still on, so tonight’s game could end up a casualty of Tropical Storm Isaias.

With 18 players on the IL due to a COVID-19 outbreak almost certainly the self-inflicted product of boneheadedness, Miami will be sending out an almost-unrecognizable roster full of temporary replacements. (Paul Folkemer has nicely summed up some of the comings and goings here.)

Well, Orioles fans should recognize two players out there: last season’s offensive sparkplug and base-stealing machine Jonathan Villar, and lefty reliever Richard Bleier, a surprise trade on Sunday morning. The Marlins also signed hurlers Mike Morin, Brian Moran (whose uncle just clocked in at #32 on the 50 All-Time Greatest Orioles list) and the ambidextrous Pat Venditte, who I remember best for giving up this ridiculous homer to the mighty Crush Davis of 2015.

Speaking of Davis, he’s back in the lineup after missing some time to due to a fever and knee soreness. So far this season, he’s hit some balls hard, but with a 1-for-13 line, hasn’t had much to show for it. Let’s hope that Marlins pitching is the shot in the arm he needs. Two hot Orioles bats sitting this one out with hopefully minor injuries are Rio Ruiz (shoulder) and José Iglesias (quad).

On the hill for the Birds is last year’s rookie phenom John Means. Means is starting on normal rest after some arm soreness earlier this season and a wonky outing against the Yankees where he gave up five runs on 51 pitches in 2 1/13 innings, the shortest start of his career. On the other hand, Means showed a fastball averaging 95.2 mph, about 4.5 miles faster than last year. It’ll be interesting to see what he comes back with tonight.

Miami’s starter is Pablo López, a righty from Venezuela entering his third big-league season. López posted a 5.09 ERA in 21 starts last season, including a 7.36 ERA on the road. Miami beat writers had been hyping López’s improvements in spring and summer camps before he had to spend the past week in quarantine, so the question will be whether he’s rested or rusty.

Orioles lineup

  1. Hanser Alberto 2B
  2. Anthony Santander RF
  3. Renato Nunez 3B
  4. Dwight Smith Jr. DH
  5. Austin Hays CF
  6. Chris Davis 1B
  7. Pedro Severino C
  8. DJ Stewart LF
  9. Andrew Velazquez SS

John Means LHP

Marlins lineup

  1. Jonathan Villar SS
  2. Jon Berti 2B
  3. Jesús Aguilar 1B
  4. Corey Dickerson LF
  5. Brian Anderson 3B
  6. Logan Forsythe DH
  7. Francesco Cervelli C
  8. Lewis Brinson RF
  9. Monte Harrison CF