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Saturday night Orioles game thread: vs. Braves, 7:05

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The Orioles have failed to win any of their last 16 games, but as the old saying goes, the 17th time’s the charm.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, Orioles, we get it. You’re tanking. Message received, loud and clear.

But could you at least try to win, like, one game?

It’s now been 19 days since the Orioles last recorded a victory. They haven’t won since the night a cat ran on the field at Yankee Stadium. It wasn’t a black cat, but it might as well have been.

If the O’s lose their 17th consecutive game tonight, they’ll become just the eighth team in the modern era with a streak of ineptitude that long. They’ll be joining a select group of the very worst clubs in MLB history. The crap de la crap, if you will. The last team to lose 17 in a row was the 2011 Seattle Mariners, a club that featured Felix Hernandez, who was cut by the Orioles in spring training this year. Just think, if King Felix had stuck around, he’d get to be part of a 17-game losing streak for the second time in his career.

Another team to lose 17 in a row was the 1977 Atlanta Braves, and it’s the Braves who will attempt to extend the Orioles’ slide tonight. Their starter, veteran lefty Drew Smyly, has been exactly league average by ERA+ this season and seems unlikely to throw a Maddux like last night’s hurler, Max Fried, did. Historically, Smyly has a 4.70 ERA in 11 games against the Birds, and they tattooed him for seven runs in 3.1 innings the last time they faced him, in 2019 (though most of the players from that game’s lineup are no longer with the Orioles).

Even if the O’s do hit Smyly tonight, it won’t matter unless they can start getting some competent performances from their pitching staff. Last night, Keegan Akin managed to survive five innings, snapping a horrific eight-start stretch by the O’s rotation in which nobody lasted five frames. The last to do it before Akin was tonight’s starter, Matt Harvey, who held the Tigers to three runs in five innings Aug. 11 before getting knocked around for five runs in 4.2 innings in Tampa Bay last time out. With a 6.59 ERA in his last three starts, Harvey’s hot start to the second half is a thing of the past. But a halfway decent outing would be nice.

Is this the night the streak finally stops? I know which way I’d bet. But hey, it has to happen sometime, one assumes.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
1B Ryan Mountcastle
DH Trey Mancini
LF Austin Hays
C Pedro Severino
RF Anthony Santander
2B Ramon Urias
3B Maikel Franco
SS Richie Martin

RHP Matt Harvey

Braves lineup:

2B Ozzie Albies
DH Jorge Soler
1B Freddie Freeman
3B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
LF Adam Duvall
RF Joc Pederson
CF Guillermo Heredia
C Stephen Vogt

LHP Drew Smyly