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Tuesday evening Orioles game thread: vs Brewers, 7:05 ET

In which the Orioles try to stretch their win streak to two.

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

WELL, THAT WAS FUN! Homegrown hero Bruce Zimmermann got to live his childhood dream of, if not running down the orange carpet, at least watching the other guys do it and waving from the bullpen. He also pitched great, by the way. It was a short outing, but this early in the year, we can’t complain. Especially after a win. And if you called that a combination of Zimmermann, Mike Baumann, Dillon Tate, Cionel Pérez and Jorge López would combine to shut out the Brewers over nine innings, well, you’re a braver fan than I.

It was a nice look for Zimmermann, who went 4-5 last season with a 5.04 ERA in 14 games and some pretty poor peripherals. (He was better at home, however, going 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.327 WHIP in seven games.) Part of the issue last year was lingering injuries, but a big problem was his fastball, which opponents hit up to the tune of a .392 average. On Monday, neither Zimmerman’s fastball usage nor velocity (44% of his pitches, 91.4 mph) differed much from 2021 (42% of all pitches, average velocity 91.5 mph). It seems that the difference was his breaking stuff, especially his changeup and slider, which, when they’re on, make his average fastball look pretty okay.

With Dean Kremer, today’s intended starter (we guess?), out with an oblique injury that’s expected to keep him sidelined for 3-4 weeks, the Orioles didn’t announce Spenser Watkins as tonight’s starter until 3 pm today. We should expect today to feature some tandem combo of Watkins and Alex Wells and Spenser Watkins, who were both called up when Kremer went on the IL and DJ Stewart got optioned to Norfolk.

The lefty Wells had himself a pretty execrable spring, only appearing in one game and managing to give up more runs than innings pitched. Meanwhile, Watkins, the highly likeable righty who’s usually looked fringy as a starter, didn’t make an official appearance for the Orioles in spring training, but the club kept him on call and on the taxi squad, in case he was needed. Today, it looks like he will be.

Countering Watkins, the Brewers are putting up the lefty Eric Lauer. The lefty, a first-rounder for San Diego in 2016, has a career 4.28 ERA in 81 games over four seasons. Last season, he appeared in 24 games for Milwaukee (20 starts) and finished with a solid 7-5 record, to go with a 3.19 ERA. He whiffed about a batter per inning (117 K’s in 118.2 innings) and opposing hitters batted just .215 against him.

Lauer has a five-pitch mix, and tends to go about 44% fastball, then a mix of his cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup. The only Oriole to have faced Lauer is Jorge Mateo, who is 1-for-2 against the lefty. Lauer sounds like exactly the kind of guy the Orioles could whiff plenty against. (And then on Wednesday, they get to face the 2021 National League Cy Young Winner in Corbin Burnes.)

But hey, games are meant to be played. And yesterday’s odds seemed pretty tall, too. Let’s go O’s!

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Ryan Mountcastle - DH
  3. Trey Mancini - 1B
  4. Austin Hays - LF
  5. Ramón Urías 2B
  6. Anthony Santander - RF
  7. Chris Owings - SS
  8. Kelvin Gutiérrez - 3B
  9. Robinson Chirinos - C

SP - Spenser Watkins

Brewers lineup

  1. Kolten Wong - 2B
  2. Willy Adames - SS
  3. Christian Yelich - LF
  4. Andrew McCutchen - DH
  5. Rowdy Tellez - 1B
  6. Hunter Renfroe - RF
  7. Omar Narvaez - C
  8. Lorenzo Cain - CF
  9. Jace Peterson - 3B

SP - Eric Lauer