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Friday night Orioles game thread: at Tigers, 7:10

The Orioles already have as many May wins as they had April wins. They’ll look to get more against a thus-far sad Tigers team.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Orioles have already won more games in May of this year than they did in the entire month of May last year. They’ve also won as many May games as they did in April. The way that the Orioles have played over these first 11 May games to put up this record (7-4 so far) has got me feeling... I don’t want to say optimistic, but less displeased than I expected to be with the O’s at this point in the calendar.

That’s especially true compared to how I was feeling when John Means went down for the year. That seemed like that was going to be the start of a disaster. It hasn’t proven to be, yet.

If the Orioles want to keep these good vibes rolling a little longer, they are going to need to do something good in this three-game set against the Tigers that begins tonight. Detroit is one of only two teams in MLB that’s still yet to pick up its 10th win of the season. Their 9-23 record is five games worse than the Orioles.

The Orioles have played .500 when playing sub-.500 teams (a 5-5 record to date) so this is theoretically an opportunity to claw closer to a .500 record. This may ultimately not matter, in the sense that the Orioles are set to play their next ten games after this Tigers series against the Yankees and Rays. That stretch of games might blast us back into a bad mood about the current state of the team whether or not Adley Rutschman makes his MLB debut during it. So hopefully they give us something to enjoy tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday.

Detroit’s offense has been even more woeful than the Orioles to date. They have only hit 12 home runs in 32 games. Twelve! The Orioles, who at one point had the sad distinction of the worst slugging percentage in the AL, have played out of that basement a bit lately. The O’s have now hit 22 home runs. Still not a great number, but so much better than 12.

Maybe good news for the Tigers is that tonight they’ll be facing Jordan Lyles, who led the league in home runs allowed last season with 38. Lyles has given up four dingers through 33.2. The dude is probably due to give up some more.

Earlier this afternoon, the Orioles placed Ryan Mountcastle on the 10-day injured list. The team announced the injury as a left wrist/forearm strain. They returned Jorge López from the bereavement list at the same time.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Jorge Mateo - SS
  3. Trey Mancini - DH
  4. Anthony Santander - RF
  5. Tyler Nevin - 1B
  6. Rougned Odor - 2B
  7. Rylan Bannon - 3B
  8. Robinson Chirinos - C
  9. Chris Owings - LF

The Mountcastle injury is unfortunate because he is one of the guys who has been hitting a bit, but this certainly does open up the opportunity to give Nevin and Bannon playing time at more natural positions for them. We’ll see if they can use the time to seize a bigger role.

Can’t say that I’m excited to see Owings in left field. Austin Hays is on the bench a day after suffering a bit of a nasty laceration to his hand when a pitcher accidentally stepped on Hays while he tried to slide into first to avoid a tag following an off-the-mark throw. Hays was cut by the cleat and stayed in the game, but he ended up needing sutures that need a couple of days to heal, he told Orioles reporters before the game.

Tigers lineup

  1. Robbie Grossman - RF
  2. Javier Báez - SS
  3. Miguel Cabrera - DH
  4. Jeimer Candelario - 3B
  5. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
  6. Willi Castro - LF
  7. Spencer Torkelson - 1B
  8. Tucker Barnhart - C
  9. Derek Hill - CF

I was recently prepared to be grumpy watching Bobby Witt doing things against the Orioles while Rutschman is still in the minors. I am prepared to be the same kind of grumpy if Torkelson, the guy who went #1 overall the year after Rutschman, lights up the O’s in a game this series while Rutschman is still in the minors.

Eduardo Rodriguez is the starting pitcher for Detroit. I’m also always at least a little nervous about a potential Revenge Game. Through six starts this year, Rodriguez has a 4.50 ERA, which would be acceptable in any other season but is actually a well-below-average 81 ERA+ in the 2022 campaign.

Hi Schoop! He really sucks so far this year, batting just .147/.189/.224. Nothing personal against a fine Oriole, but I hope his turnaround does not begin over the next three games.