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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: vs Astros, 7:05

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Jorge López gets another chance to defeat the fifth inning, while the 37-year-old Zack Greinke looks to get back to form.

MLB: Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles
There will be more banging where this came from tonight (I hope).
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

In last night’s rain-soaked contest against the Houston Astros, it wasn’t hard to tell which of these teams is supposed to be worst team in the American League, and which is the best. The Orioles were out-pitched, out-hit, and out-defended. The good news, I guess, is that they didn’t get no-hit, thanks to a two-run Maikel Franco bomb in the eighth inning, and the fact that starter Keegan Akin was not caught with any sticky substance in his hat. It was definitely weird seeing the pitchers getting stopped on their way to the dugout as if it was a police patdown.

Anyway, tomorrow (today) is always a new day, and the Orioles have a chance to battle back and even up the series … if they can get a good start out of their talented-but-inconsistent righty Jorge López. As Alex Church put it in his series preview, López’s biggest foe here is not so much Houston’s bats as it is the fifth inning, where batters are slashing .465/.531/.814 against him. In 14 starts this year, López has made it out of the fifth inning three times. No wonder the bullpen is exhausted. Two of his best and longest starts came at the end of May, but he’s had a mini-regression in three starts in June, failing to get past the fifth in any start and giving up three, five, and five runs in each. The Orioles need a bounceback tonight.

Orioles hitters will take their hacks against former All-Star Zack Greinke. The 37-year-old Greinke doesn’t boast the fastball he used to when he was drafted in 2002, but his control has been excellent as usual: his walk percentage of 5.2% would be second only to John Means’s if he were an Oriole (and on this rotation, wouldn’t we take him?). Greinke’s main swing-and-miss pitch is his slider, but his arsenal is impressively diversified: he can put batters away with five different pitches. On June 4, Greinke tossed a complete game against Toronto, but he hasn’t completed six innings since. Orioles hitters will have to have their wits about them to land some blows against the ageless righty.

Orioles Lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins CF
  2. Freddy Galvis SS
  3. Trey Mancini DH
  4. Ryan Mountcastle 1B
  5. Austin Hays LF
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. DJ Stewart RF
  8. Pedro Severino C
  9. Pat Valaika 2B

RHP Jorge López (2-8, 5.95 ERA)

Houston Lineup

  1. Jose Altuve 2B
  2. Robel García SS
  3. Michael Brantley LF
  4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
  5. Yordan Alvarez DH
  6. Abraham Toro 3B
  7. Chas McCormick RF
  8. Myles Straw CF
  9. Martín Maldonado C

RHP Zack Greinke (7-2, 3.74 ERA)