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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: vs. Rays, 1:10

The Orioles will try to somehow keep from hitting the team’s longest losing streak since 1988.

MLB: AUG 08 Rays at Orioles
Beware the fifth inning. And also the first inning.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What do you do when history has its eyes on you? The question formed a song in the Broadway musical Hamilton. The Orioles, in much different circumstances, have to ponder it today and every day as their current losing streak drags on.

The history the O’s are chasing is repetitive losing the likes of which hasn’t been seen since at least 1935. They’re also kind of chasing the franchise’s own worst losing streak, the 0-21 start to the 1988 season. There is a long way from 0-14 to 0-21, but you know, is there anything to make you especially confident that the 2021 Orioles are up to the task of winning any game in the next week to avoid that fate?

Maybe they will reverse lock their way into a win somewhere along the way. Maybe that day will even be today. The Orioles are giving up 8.6 runs per game in a 1-15 month of August. They’ve lost 14 straight and they’re 1-14 against the Rays this year as they head into this finale of a four-game set with those same Rays.

It’s ugly, I’m talking straight up U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi you ugly. Unless you think that perhaps the chase for the #1 draft pick is the alibi. This stretch of suckiness has at last plunged the Orioles into the lowest depths of the MLB standings. At 38-81, they’re a game ahead of the 40-81 Diamondbacks in the standings for the top pick next year.

It’s not much consolation at all as I watch Orioles baseball night in and night out, where on top of not being good enough it seems like there’s always something stupid that happens that even bad players should manage to avoid. So it goes. There are another 43 games to be played, counting today’s. That’s one of those facts that feels like a threat. 43 more games of this? Good grief. The good news is that in a few more hours it’ll be down to only 42.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Trey Mancini - DH
  3. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  4. Austin Hays - LF
  5. Pedro Severino - C
  6. Anthony Santander - RF
  7. Ramón Urías - 3B
  8. Jorge Mateo - 2B
  9. Richie Martin - SS

Pitching for the Orioles is Jorge López. A lot is made of López’s curse of the fifth inning, where he’s allowed 23 earned runs in 21 games, but let’s not sleep on the amount he also stinks in the first inning, with 16 earned runs allowed in 24 games. It is no good. He flashes some modest potential periodically but overall it’s hard to quibble with his 6.14 ERA for the season, right in line with his career ERA of 6.07.

Rays lineup

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

It’s Shane McClanahan pitching for the Rays. The rookie has a 3.74 ERA in 18 starts. Some day maybe the Orioles will be able to have a couple of young guys in the rotation who aren’t immediate busts. Today is not that day and this year is not that year.