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Monday night Orioles game thread: vs. Braves, 7:35

The Orioles have very little room for error down the stretch, and the Braves don’t make for easy competition.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Austin Hays fans rejoice! The former top prospect is off of the IL and back into the Orioles starting lineup. But he won’t be in center field. It seems Brandon Hyde prefers the reinvigorated Cedric Mullins in that spot. Instead, Hays will make his first major league start in left field while Ryan Mountcastle serves as the DH and Renato Nunez plays first base.

It would have been interesting to see Mountcastle get some innings at first base. But don’t worry, according to Hyde, that’s coming soon.

In order to get Hays back on the active squad, the O’s had to do some roster maneuvering. That manifested as Chris Davis heading back on the IL with knee tendinitis and the injured Stevie Wilkerson being released for the time being.

It will be nice to see Hays back on the field. He was having a rough season, having posted just a 44 OPS+ prior to his time on the shelf. But we know he is a better player than the .203/.373/.246 line he has put together in 2020 so far.

Since he has been gone, his fellow outfielders have been impressive. Mullins has flashed the leather and an impressive ability to bunt. Stewart has exploded with the bat. Suddenly, it’s Hays that finds himself under pressure to perform.

If there was ever a night to bust a slump, it’s this one. The Orioles have dropped five in a row, and they need to start winning if they want to have any shot at the postseason.

Starting Lineup

  1. CF Cedric Mullins
  2. SS Jose Iglesias
  3. RF DJ Stewart
  4. DH Ryan Mountcastle
  5. 3B Rio Ruiz
  6. 1B Renato Nunez
  7. C Chance Sisco
  8. LF Austin Hays
  9. 2B Andrew Velazquez

RHP Jorge Lopez (1-0, 6.38 ERA)