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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Red Sox, 7:30

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The Orioles travel to Fenway Park to take on the cellar-dwelling Red Sox in their second-to-last series of the season.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Orioles kick off a three-game series at Fenway Park before wrapping up the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. The team may be sleepwalking into the final six games of the season, but if you like pitching, there’s still a lot to watch for. Earlier this summer, there was a lot of speculation by Orioles fandom about whether the shortened season would block debuts by top prospects like Ryan Mountcastle, Dean Kremer, and Keegan Akin.

That question has finally been answered in the negative. Even better, a lot of those debuts have been surprisingly good, including Akin’s.

In his first six games, Akin has a 3.38 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. Take out a shaky August 15th debut, where the lefty allowed three runs in three innings of long relief in a blowout against the Nationals, and his ERA is a tidy 2.30. Last week, Akin tossed a brilliant five shutout innings against an Atlanta Braves team that’s ranked No. 1 in the MLB in team batting average, runs, hits per game, and OPS.

The Red Sox have had a tumultuous and disappointing year, but they are a better hitting team than their 20-34 record shows, clocking in in the top 10 in the MLB in most offensive categories, so they should provide Akin with a formidable challenge. They’ve had significant roster turnover this season, including an August 21st deal that sent pitchers Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman to the Phillies in exchange for minor leaguer Connor Seabold and today’s starter, the 27-year-old righty Nick Pivetta.

Pivetta made his debut with the Phillies in 2017, and after putting up a 5.33 ERA in two seasons as a starter, he was used mostly out of the bullpen in 2019. For whatever reason, things didn’t work out for him in Philadelphia, and when he joined a pitching-starved Red Sox, he was sent to their alternate site in Pawtucket before getting promoted for this start. Bryan Holaday has a hit off Pivetta in three at-bats, Pat Valaika is 2-for-2 against him with a three-run home run, and José Iglesias and Pedro Severino are both 0-for-2.

Orioles lineup

CF Cedric Mullins

RF Austin Hays

1B Ryan Mountcastle

DH Renato Nunez

LF DJ Stewart

C Pedro Severino

2B Hanser Alberto

3B Rio Ruiz

SS Ramón Urías

LHP Keegan Akin

Red Sox lineup

RF Alex Verdugo

3B Rafael Devers

SS Xander Bogaerts

DH J.D. Martinez

C Christian Vázquez

CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.

1B Bobby Dalbec

LF Michael Chavis

2B Jonathan Araúz