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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: vs. Tigers, 4:05

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The first game of the Orioles post-Chris Davis era is here. It feels a lot like the last game of the Chris Davis era.

Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

When a team’s pitching staff is of the quality of the 2021 Orioles pitching staff, long losing streaks are never far off. Line up several poor starting pitchers and a sufficient number of bad relievers and what you get is six games in a row giving up 9+ runs - a streak only broken yesterday when the O’s merely gave up five runs and still lost because their offense only gave up two. Little surprise they’ve lost seven games in a row, their third streak of 7+ losses this season.

Perhaps John Means can be the guy to reverse that trend as the series concludes against the Tigers on Thursday afternoon. It is going to be a scorcher. The city of Baltimore is under a heat advisory until 8pm, so probably all of this 4:05 game will be played under those conditions. It’s hot and it’s humid, and unlike the last two nights, there’s no storm coming to break the heat. I hope they don’t choose to wear the black uniform tops.

As for Means, he’s coming off of a couple of decent starts. The two before that, his first starts after returning from the injured list, were not very good. Perhaps the Tigers lineup will help Means continue a good string of starts, although Detroit is league average on offense overall this year and they’ve hit lefties better than they’ve hit righties, so this isn’t exactly going to be an easy task.

One benefit for the Orioles is that they will not be facing Miguel Cabrera, who is getting the day off in what appears to be a day of rest calculated to make sure that he does not hit home run #500 before Detroit goes home for a six-game homestand that starts tomorrow. Cabrera sits at 499 after homering off of Matt Harvey last night.

For the aggressive tanking supporters out there, this latest swoon by the Orioles has not resulted in their gaining much ground in the draft pick race. The O’s are 2-8 over their last 10 games. However, so are the Diamondbacks, who currently hold the #1 pick. The Rangers, who could slip ahead of the Orioles if the O’s hit a hot streak, are 3-7 through their last 10. The Pirates, who could also slip ahead of the Orioles, are even worse at 1-9 over their last 10 - plus they’re trailing in the sixth inning today as I write this post.

Today’s lineups:

Baltimore Orioles

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Austin Hays - LF
  3. Trey Mancini - 1B
  4. Anthony Santander - DH
  5. DJ Stewart - RF
  6. Maikel Franco - 3B
  7. Jorge Mateo - 2B
  8. Austin Wynns - C
  9. Richie Martin - SS

This lineup is going up against Tigers righty Matt Manning. That’s of interest to me because it means Santander will be batting left-handed. Today’s Orioles designated hitter has hit a Eutaw Street home run in each of his last two games. All ten of Santander’s home runs this year are against righty pitchers, and he’s OPSing 1.391 in eight August games so far. Pretty good. Manning has a 6.33 ERA in nine starts, so it’s going to be sad if the Orioles offense turns in a flat performance.

Tigers lineup

  1. Robbie Grossman - RF
  2. Jonathan Schoop - DH
  3. Jeimer Candelario - 3B
  4. Eric Haase - LF
  5. Renato Nunez - 1B
  6. Willi Castro - 2B
  7. Victor Reyes - CF
  8. Grayson Greiner - C
  9. Zack Short - SS