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Wednesday afternoon Orioles game thread: vs. Twins, 1:10

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The Orioles try to avoid another sweep, and a ninth straight loss, as they face the Twins this afternoon.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals
Jorge Lopez will be called upon to be a stopper today, which probably means the Orioles will lose a ninth straight game.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

It’s been nearly four years now since the last good month of Orioles baseball. The team has not finished above .500 in a full month of games since August, 2017, and even that 17-12 August only set up a 7-21 free-fall to close out the season - enough to convince the previous GM to go for it in 2018, and we all know how that went.

The fact that this has gone on for so long is not the fault of Mike Elias or his front office. The Dan Duquette/Buck Showalter era flamed out spectacularly. Duquette’s belated fire sale trades have, thus far, done very little to set up the franchise for a better future. That’s the rational explanation that you can accept when you think about it a little bit.

Part of being a fan is that the rational explanation is not always the most fun thing to accept. There is a plan. That much is clear especially when looking at the results for every O’s minor league affiliate other than Norfolk this year. The specific shape of the better future to come is starting to settle in, rather than just being some vague thing we have to imagine and take on faith.

And still, it’s no fun to watch the big league club right now. They are losers of eight straight games. They have not beaten their opponent today, the Twins, since Opening Day, 2018. The dismal performance of Norfolk combined with injuries a couple of the more interesting prospects there - especially Yusniel Díaz - offers little hope for the rest of this season.

The players who are here are going to have to play better, and probably many of them cannot. I am about to sit down and watch Jorge López pitch. I can say this is because I am contractually obligated to do so, which is true, and yet, I would be watching even if I wasn’t.

I am an Orioles fan and I watch Orioles games even when they’re bad and there is no hope right now. Anyone who thought earlier this month, “This team sucks, I’m just not going to watch their day game or even bother to be aware of what’s going on in it” missed out on John Means throwing the first complete game Orioles no-hitter since 1969. There are few sports triumphs for which I would trade that memory. But I sure watched a lot of bad baseball games while I was waiting for it.

There was some pre-game news. Austin Hays is headed to the injured list with his hamstring issue. The team hopes it will be a minimum length stay. That is said a lot more often than it ends up being a minimum length stay. So Ryan McKenna is back for now. Additionally, Dean Kremer was optioned to Norfolk. The Orioles are not even filling that roster spot today. It’s expected to go to Dillon Tate when he’s activated from the IL tomorrow. Keegan Akin will be taking Kremer’s spot in the rotation next time around.

Here are some lineups.

Orioles

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Freddy Galvis - SS
  3. Trey Mancini - 1B
  4. Anthony Santander - DH
  5. DJ Stewart - RF
  6. Maikel Franco - 3B
  7. Stevie Wilkerson - LF
  8. Pat Valaika - 2B
  9. Chance Sisco - C

Ryan Mountcastle is not in the lineup after being hit by a pitch in the hand last night. These two things are likely connected.

Twins

  1. Max Kepler - RF
  2. Jorge Polanco - 2B
  3. Nelson Cruz - DH
  4. Alex Kiriloff - 1B
  5. Miguel Sanó - 3B
  6. Trevor Larnach - LF
  7. Willians Astudillo - C
  8. Rob Refsnyder - CF
  9. Andrelton Simmons - SS

The Twins starter is Michael Pineda, who is fresh off the injured list to pitch in this game.