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Thursday night Orioles game thread: vs. Tigers, 7:10

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The O’s kick off a four-game road series against Detroit with Alexander Wells facing off against former No. 1 draft pick Casey Mize.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
Can this guy hold off the Tigers tonight?
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Two teams whose rosters could look a little different come 4 p.m. on Friday, the Orioles and the Tigers aren’t playing for the postseason, but they are trying to stockpile talent for the future. It’s rumored that the Tigers could deal second baseman Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Robbie Grossman, and pitchers José Cisnero, Matthew Boyd, and Michael Fulmer, among others.

Judging by the Tigers’ 48-55 record, they’re farther along in their rebuild than the Orioles, but things haven’t been “all sunshine and rainbows” for Detroit’s young pitchers so far. Injuries have hit the rotation hard, with Spencer Turnbull on the 60-day IL and José Ureña on the 10-day IL. Plus younger guys like Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal, Detroit’s Game 2 and 3 starters, have been struggling.

Meanwhile, baseball’s much-heralded No. 1 prospect in 2018, Casey Mize is 5-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 19 starts this season. It’s a big improvement on his 0-3 record and 6.99 ERA in 2020, but so far, his peripherals haven’t been great, except for a low walk rate. Mize has changed up his pitch mix since 2020, phasing out his cutter while relying more on his four-seam fastball and less on his sinker (which has been ineffective). No one on the current Orioles has faced Mize before.

Likewise, Alexander Wells is a complete unknown to the opposing roster he’s facing. Over his short MLB résumé (three appearances and one start), Wells has an ERA of 4.35 and WHIP of 1.548 so far, significantly higher than his solid minors career numbers of 2.94 and 1.075, respectively. Wells has been a lot more effective against lefties, who are batting .222/.300/.333 against him, than righties, who are hitting .261/.370/.522 and slugging .892. Again, though, it’s a miniscule sample size—and also mostly Randy Arozarena’s fault. Even so, Detroit is unsurprisingly going with a righty-heavy lineup tonight against Wells.

Orioles lineup

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

Tigers lineup

1. Akil Baddoo LF
2. Jonathan Schoop DH
3. Robbie Grossman RF
4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Eric Haase C
6. Jeimer Candelario 3B
7. Willi Castro 2B
8. Zack Short SS
9. Derek Hill CF