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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Cardinals, 1:15

In which a tightly stretched Orioles staff goes with a team approach in Game 3.

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
In Bryan Baker we trust... that Game 3 won’t be a another blowout.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Tuesday’s Kyle Bradish masterpiece left us a little giddy but after last night’s 10-1 beatdown, we’re all a little older and wiser. Couple that with the fact that it took Brandon Hyde until two hours before game time to announce today’s starter, Bryan Baker, and one hour before to post the lineup, and, well, let’s just say that if you’re stuck at work and can’t tune in for today’s game, I can’t blame you.

The Cardinals were supposed to start flamethrower Jordan Hicks and his 98.7 mph sinker balls, but they have subbed him out for eighth-year lefty Steven Matz, who spent six seasons with the New York Mets and one with Toronto, where he went a solid 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 2021 before leaving for St. Louis in free agency. Cardinals fans weren’t overjoyed by the 4 year, $44 million lavished on the 4.33 career ERA-holding lefty, and it’s not been a great year for him: he’s 3-2 with a 7.01 ERA in six appearances. Most recently after coming off the bereavement list, Matz got walloped by the Giants, who put up eight runs against him in two innings. Matz has a four-pitch mix: a sinker (50.4%), changeup (26.7%), curveball (19%), and slider (4%). Batters are loving the sinker (.396 average against) this year, with Matz among league-worst in xBA against. Austin Hays is 4-for-11 against Matz in his career, Jorge Mateo 1-for-4, Tyler Nevin 1-for-2, Anthony Santander 2-for-7, and Trey Mancini 0-for-8. Let’s snap that streak, Trey!

The rain-postponed doubleheader last weekend hurt the Orioles’ starter game a bit: although it would be Jordan Lyles’ turn in the rotation today, he would be working on just three days of rest, so he is tabbed for Friday night in Detroit instead. Brandon Hyde going with Bryan Baker (1-1, 5.40 ERA in 12 appearances, none more than 1.2 IP) feels a little like a white flag, but hey, crazier things have happened than pulling out a win with the starter-by-committee approach. After Baker, expect to see Keegan Akin in long relief followed possibly by Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista.

Prior to today’s game (like, an hour before), the Orioles made two roster moves. First they selected the contract of 25-year-old RHP Denyi Reyes from Norfolk, who will be making his MLB debut and optioned Travis Lakins Sr., who still can’t find his effectiveness this season. Reyes was 0-1 with an 8.25 ERA in Norfolk this season. I’d have preferred to see Nick Vespi, but, well, all hands on deck, right?

At 12:13 pm, just an hour pre-game, they also announced that Paul Fry and his 6.00 ERA this season had been optioned to Triple-A and that Rylan Bannon had been recalled to get the start at 3B. That’s kind of fun! Maybe he’ll make an over-the-shoulder basket catch today. Bring on the prospects!

Orioles lineup

1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Austin Hays RF
3. Trey Mancini 1B
4. Anthony Santander DH
5. Tyler Nevin LF
6. Jorge Mateo SS
7. Rylan Bannon 3B
8. Anthony Bemboom C
9. Chris Owings 2B

Cardinals lineup

1. Tommy Edman 2B
2. Paul Goldschmidt DH
3. Nolan Arenado 3B
4. Juan Yepez RF
5. Albert Pujols 1B
6. Tyler O’Neill LF
7. Dylan Carlson CF
8. Andrew Knitzer C
9. Brendan Donovan SS

Let’s go O’s!