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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs Blue Jays, 7:05

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It’s game one of a wonky four-game set against the surging Blue Jays.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Is it possible to play “spoiler” by losing? Look, I want the Orioles to win baseball games. It’s much more enjoyable to watch, and I watch far too many of their games to muster up whatever strength it must take to actively root against your favorite team. That said, if you are going to lose games that, in the Orioles’ interest, are meaningless, these four against the Blue Jays may be the time to do it.

I do not particularly like the Toronto Blue Jays. That fan threw a beer at Hyun Soo Kim is a jerk, and José Bautista is foe not a friend, despite the fact that he follows half of the accounts on Twitter. But if I had to pick one of the Blue Jays, Red Sox, or Yankees to earn a playoff spot, I’m choosing the Blue Jays everytime.

The AL Wild Card standings are tight. Boston, New York, and Toronto are separated by 1.5 games for the two spots in the one-game playoff. Boston is currently dealing with a team-wide COVID breakout, and New York is tumbling down the standings. Meanwhile, Toronto is surging. Their lineup is a buzzsaw, their starting rotation is impressive, and their bullpen is getting healthy. Although the team north of the border is currently on the outside looking in, it feels like an inevitability that they are going to the postseason. So, why get in their way?

I only partly kid here. The Orioles should not roll over this weekend. In fact, it would be cool to see them nab a game or two. But it’s nice to know that the alternative is spoiling the fun of the Red Sox or Yankees.

Orioles’ Starting Lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins, CF
  2. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B
  3. Austin Hays, RF
  4. Trey Mancini, DH
  5. Ryan McKenna, LF
  6. Jahmai Jones, 2B
  7. Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B
  8. Austin Wynns, C
  9. Richie Martin, SS

RHP Chris Ellis (1-0, 2.16 ERA)

Blue Jays Starting Lineup

  1. George Springer, DH
  2. Marcus Semien, 2B
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
  4. Bo Bichette, SS
  5. Teoscar Hernández, RF
  6. Alejandro Kirk, C
  7. Lourdes Gurriel Jr, LF
  8. Jake Lamb, 3B
  9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

LHP Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.60 ERA)