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Sunday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Yankees, 1:05

In which the Orioles try to salvage their pride, if not the series.

MLB: SEP 06 Yankees at Orioles Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orioles come limping into the last of a four-game series against the Yankees that figured to be a make-or-break for their playoffs chances. Well, the season ain’t over, but the writing is on the wall. This morning Mark Brown broke down what would need to happen over the final 15 games of the season for the Orioles, now 4.5 games out of the final playoff spot, to sneak in at this point. They’d have to go 10-5 and the Yankees would have to collapse down the stretch. It seems unlikely.

But hey, playoff baseball was always a long shot for the Orioles in 2020, and this season has played out better than fans anticipated. Plus yesterday saw another strong start by an Orioles rookie hurler, which gives real reason to think that next year’s rotation won’t suck.

On that note, it’d be great to see another strong start by John Means to help put behind him what’s been kind of a lost 2020. Before last week’s outing against the Mets, Means was 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in six starts over which he logged just 20 innings. Means has mostly been healthy in 2020, other than a bout of “dead arm” in July, but he said he’d lost his “feel” for his stuff. That was before his September 8th outing, when he went six innings and allowed just three hits and one earned run. If Means can be that guy again today, it’d go a long way to assuring Orioles fans that his 2020 struggles were a blip.

On the hill for the Yankees is the lefty J.A. Happ, whom the Orioles faced on July 30th, with some success. That day, Happ allowed four runs on two homers, one apiece by Hanser Alberto and Rio Ruiz, in a game the Orioles seemed to have in the bag before a ninth-inning collapse.

Against Happ, Brandon Hyde has put out a hitting-first lineup, with Ryan Mountcastle batting third today, Renato Núñez at first, José Iglesias DH’ing, and Pat Valaika at short. Let’s see if that’ll be enough to snap this team out of its offensive slumber.

Orioles lineup

1. Hanser Alberto 2B

2. José Iglesias DH

3. Ryan Mountcastle LF

4. Pedro Severino C

5. Renato Núñez 1B

6. DJ Stewart RF

7. Pat Valaika SS

8. Rio Ruiz 3B

9. Cedric Mullins CF

Yankees lineup

1. DJ LeMahieu 3B

2. Luke Voit 1B

3. Aaron Hicks CF

4. Clint Frazier RF

5. Miguel Andújar LF

6. Gary Sánchez DH

7. Kyle Higashioka C

8. Thairo Estrada 2B

9. Tyler Wade SS