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Saturday afternoon Orioles game thread: at White Sox, 2:10

Baltimore Orioles v St. Louis Cardinals
We’re doing the Spenser Watkins thing again, for apparent lack of other able-bodied pitchers.
Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

For a team that’s six games below .500 like the Orioles are, there are a greater number of things at stake than you might expect in today’s game. These mostly involve some years-long quests back towards the general direction of respectability after several seasons of the rebuilding/tanking era.

One big one is that the Orioles enter this game with three straight wins. If they win today and get a fourth straight win, that will be the first time they’ve won more than three in a row since August 2020. A win today would also be a big boost for the Orioles hopes of securing their first winning full month of baseball since August 2017; they’d only need to go 1-3 in the final four games of the month to have an above-.500 record in June. Both of these would feel like fun triumphs. We’ve seen a lot of bad baseball.

Maybe it is possible. The Orioles have the same number of wins as the White Sox do as the teams come into this game. The South Siders are three games ahead of the O’s in the loss column. If records are any indication, the Orioles are about on the level of these guys. The last two games certainly suggest that. An Orioles bullpen game held this lineup to a run yesterday, and that came the day after the O’s pitched a combined shutout.

Here’s one more: The Orioles, with a win today, would be 20-15 since May 19. Another: A win today means they would have been playing .500 baseball since April 26. After the team has won 52 games, 54 games, and 47 games in the three most recent 162 game seasons, firing off a month-plus of above-.500 and .500 for nearly two full months would also feel like real progress.

I do not expect to see the above positives delivered from today’s game, and neither will you after you read the lineup immediately below this paragraph.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Trey Mancini - 1B
  3. Austin Hays - RF
  4. Ryan Mountcastle - DH
  5. Ryan McKenna - LF
  6. Tyler Nevin - 3B
  7. Robinson Chirinos - C
  8. Jonathan Araúz - 2B
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

Can anyone really have any confidence in this game when looking at this lineup, with Spenser Watkins as the starting pitcher? This is brutal once you get past the cleanup spot. As we have seen throughout the season, the Orioles have won some games like this here and there, but they have not won so many that I am feeling good about a lineup where McKenna is the #5 hitter.

White Sox lineup

  1. Lenyn Sosa - 2B
  2. Andrew Vaughn - DH
  3. Luis Robert - CF
  4. José Abreu - 1B
  5. AJ Pollock - LF
  6. Gavin Sheets - RF
  7. Jake Burger - 3B
  8. Leury Garcia - SS
  9. Reese McGuire - C

Pitching for Chicago today is Lance Lynn, who’s only made two starts so far this season. Orioles fans can hope his poor small sample size ERA of 5.79 will continue to be as high or higher after this game. After a couple of night games where every fly ball seemed to die, I wonder whether we’re in for a slugfest in this day game.