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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Royals, 7:05 PM

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Matt Harvey, facing an uncertain future in Baltimore and MLB, takes the mound for the Orioles against Kansas City.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The sun could be setting on Matt Harvey’s tenure in Baltimore. Or, to put it another way, a dark night could soon arrive for The Dark Knight.

The veteran right-hander takes the mound this evening for the 28th and perhaps final time for the Orioles. Manager Brandon Hyde told the Baltimore Sun that the club has “gone start-to-start” for Harvey’s last four or five starts, monitoring if and when to shut him down for the season. Harvey’s workload has been by far his heaviest since 2018; he has thrown 123.1 innings this year after tossing just 11.2 last year for the Royals and 59.2 the season before.

The O’s are using September to get a look at some of their younger pitchers; their last four games were started by rookies — Chris Ellis, Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther, and Alexander Wells — and Mike Baumann, who won his major league debut in relief last night, could also enter the rotation at some point. That might not leave much room for Harvey in the season’s final weeks.

If tonight turns out to be Harvey’s swan song for the 2021 Orioles, let’s remember the good times — specifically the second half, when he’s posted a 3.99 ERA in nine starts, beginning with a six-scoreless-inning effort against this same Royals team on July 18. Overall, he’s just 6-14 with a 6.28 ERA thanks to his horrific first half, but still. By all accounts, he’s been a great teammate and mentor throughout his stint, and you can’t question his durability — Harvey is the only one of the 35 O’s pitchers this year who has remained on the active roster all season long. Not bad for a guy who was considered a long shot to even make the team out of spring training.

So a tip of the cap to you, Matt Harvey. If tonight is your final start, here’s hoping it’s a good one.

Orioles lineup:

DH Cedric Mullins
1B Ryan Mountcastle
LF Austin Hays
C Pedro Severino
RF Anthony Santander
SS Jorge Mateo
CF Ryan McKenna
2B Jahmai Jones
3B Kelvin Gutierrez

RHP Matt Harvey

Royals lineup:

2B Whit Merrifield
SS Nicky Lopez
C Salvador Perez
LF Andrew Benintendi
1B Carlos Santana
3B Adalberto Mondesi
RF Ryan O’Hearn
DH Michael Taylor
CF Edward Olivares

LHP Mike Minor