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Orioles home opener game thread: vs. Red Sox, 3:05

Fans are returning to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to see an O’s lineup that’s totally different than the last home game in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
It remains weird that Matt Harvey is starting the Orioles home opener.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It’s been more than 18 months since the last time the Orioles got to play a game at Camden Yards in front of fans. The O’s return in front of a limited capacity home crowd on Thursday afternoon as the team in sole possession of first place in the American League East, guaranteed to finish the day at worst in a tie for first. This fact means nothing in the grand scheme of a baseball season but is still pretty cool.

For anyone who’s going to be there, it will surely feel a little odd compared to other home openers. Just the socially distanced seating would be enough, to say nothing of all of the other pandemic-necessary precautions and measures put into place with the convenience of being able to blame them on the pandemic. But after not getting to watch the team in person at all last year, I’m sure it will also feel good.

Here is the Orioles starting lineup for the first home game:

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Trey Mancini - 1B
  3. Anthony Santander - RF
  4. Ryan Mountcastle - LF
  5. Maikel Franco - DH
  6. Pedro Severino - C
  7. Freddy Galvis - SS
  8. Rio Ruiz - 3B
  9. Pat Valaika - 2B

On Twitter earlier, O’s podcast Locked On Orioles pointed out that this starting lineup shares exactly zero players with the starting lineup from the last home game played in front of fans on Sept. 22, 2019.

It’s a bit of a fluky thing. Three players in that day’s lineup are on the O’s injured list today; four players in today’s lineup were just getting a Sunday afternoon game off late in the 2019 season. So it’s not like there’s been total organizational turnover. It is still weird that Matt Harvey is going to pitch the home opener for the Orioles. I think that out of the two lineups, I’d rather see today’s lineup.

O’s fans whether inside Camden Yards or elsewhere will be hoping that there’s some kind of offensive breakout coming soon. The team has averaged just four runs per game over its first six games, and there are only two above-average hitters - Mullins and Santander - on the team to date. Maybe former O’s farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez, making his first start of 2021, will provide some pitches they can tee off on.

Here’s the Red Sox lineup that will be facing off against Harvey:

  1. Enrique Hernández - CF
  2. Alex Verdugo - RF
  3. J.D. Martinez - DH
  4. Rafael Devers - 3B
  5. Christian Vásquez - C
  6. Marwin Gonzalez - SS
  7. Christian Arroyo - 2B
  8. Franchy Cordero - LF
  9. Bobby Dalbec - 1B