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Wednesday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Rays, 12:10 PM

In which Alexander Wells makes his first major league start in the rubber match.

Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

After Keegan Akin’s disastrous three-inning, six-run start on Friday night in Kansas City, manager Brandon Hyde staunchly insisted that the left-hander would keep getting looks in the rotation, despite Akin’s 0-5 record and 8.19 ERA. In his first six starts this season, he had a 3.60 ERA, but over his last seven, that average is up to 11.44. As MASN’s Roch Kubatko put it a couple of days ago, “The Orioles must decide whether starting Akin is doing more harm than good—to him as well as the team.”

That decision will have to wait another day. This morning, the Orioles placed Akin and outfielder Anthony Santander on the COVID-19 injured list, scratching Akin from today’s scheduled start. Alexander Wells was called up from Triple-A Norfolk to make his first MLB start.

Facing Wells is the right-hander Michael Wacha. The nine-year veteran spent seven seasons in St. Louis, getting named an All-Star in 2015 before joining the Mets in 2020 and Tampa Bay ahead of the 2021 season. He’s 2-2 this season with a 5.14 ERA in 11 starts and 55 K’s in 61 innings.

This O’s lineup has scant experience against Wacha: six guys have faced him one time apiece, including DJ Stewart and Pat Valaika, who are each 1-for-1 against the righty.

Can the O’s regroup from last night’s struggles and eke out a series win?

Orioles lineup

1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Austin Hays RF
3. Trey Mancini DH
4. Ryan Mountcastle 1B
5. DJ Stewart LF
6. Ramón Urías SS
7. Domingo Leyba 3B
8. Pat Valaika 2B
9. Austin Wynns C

Rays lineup

1. Randy Arozarena LF
2. Vidal Bruján 2B
3. Austin Meadows DH
4. Wander Franco SS
5. Brandon Lowe RF
6. Ji-Man Choi 1B
7. Francisco Mejía C
8. Joey Wendle 3B
9. Brett Phillips CF