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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Twins, 7:05

Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann may need to throw a shutout with how the Orioles offense is doing lately.

Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The 2022 Orioles season has not stopped being strange. They are pitching SO well, and it’s not just about the humidors or deadened baseballs or whatever else. Even without all of that, there was no way you would have convinced me that the Orioles, relative to their league peers, would have the 8th-best pitching staff by ERA after 23 games. That’s how it is, though. The O’s have a 3.60 ERA as a team so far, which is also unreal.

What good has that improved pitching staff been for them? In terms of their record, not very much. A record of 8-15 is pretty close to what anyone might have picked for the Orioles at this point. That’s a 56-106 pace. It’s not going to sell many season tickets. They are going to need to start hitting a lot better to end up winning more games.

How bad the Orioles offense is has also been kind of unbelievable. The 2022-specific factors explain why the slugging percentage is only .313, but they still should have been better than 14th in the AL. Last year’s Orioles - no great shakes outside of Cedric Mullins - had the 10th-best slugging percentage in the AL. It’s not like the new fence at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the reason this is happening. There’s been fewer than one batted ball per game landing in the impacted area.

I’ve said this before and will say it again: It feels like we haven’t seen the real Orioles yet. I don’t know what it will look like when we do! I hope it’s more of a positive from the hitters performing better (or the crappy hitters being replaced by prospects who perform better) rather than the possible negative of the series of seemingly-overachieving relievers starting to implode night after night.

Perhaps we will start to see some of that change tonight. Or not! If this game starts to go south, you can always try to follow the Double-A Bowie game, where Adley Rutschman is arriving for a planned one-week stay.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Trey Mancini - DH
  3. Anthony Santander - RF
  4. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  5. Austin Hays - LF
  6. Rougned Odor - 2B
  7. Tyler Nevin - 3B
  8. Anthony Bemboom - C
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

Bruce Zimmermann (pictured above) will be making his third home start of the year. The crowd will probably be just a bit smaller than he experienced for the home opener and for a Sunday afternoon game against the Yankees. Zimmermann has yet to allow an earned run in Baltimore this season. With how the Orioles offense is doing lately, he’s going to need to continue that streak for the team to have a chance to win.

Twins lineup

  1. Byron Buxton - CF
  2. Carlos Correa - SS
  3. Jorge Polanco - 2B
  4. Gio Urshela - 3B
  5. José Miranda - 1B
  6. Gary Sánchez - DH
  7. Max Kepler - RF
  8. Ryan Jeffers - C
  9. Gilbert Celestino - LF

Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan has a 1.17 ERA through his first four starts. That’s still not as good as Zimmermann’s 0.93, but it’s still mighty impressive - and surely a bad matchup for the sad Orioles offense. Maybe one of these nights the Orioles bad batted ball luck - especially for Mancini, back in the lineup after a several day absence for bruised ribs - will start to turn out better.