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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: at Cubs, 8:05

The Orioles are going for ten straight wins, and can also get above .500 with a win. Pretty fun! If they win.

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Tonight is the night where the Orioles will try to stretch their winning streak into double digits for the first time in the 21st century. If you had asked me about this at the beginning of the month, I would not have believed it possible that they would get this close at any point in the 2022 season, or perhaps even ever. As good as the team was in 2012-16, they never won more than eight in a row. Yet somehow the 2022 Orioles have done nine.

Can they do ten? Well, sure. We already know they are capable of beating the Cubs. They just did this last night. Whether they can win again will depend on whether they can have another well-pitched game, or if they don’t, whether they can get enough offense to overcome that.

Along with the search for ten straight wins, the Orioles will also be trying to get ABOVE .500. They can do it with a win. This, too, would not have seemed possible to me at the beginning of the month. This is the 2022 Orioles! They were the butt of all the jokes! Win nine straight games and suddenly people notice and stop making jokes, at least for a little while. That’s been fun.

It’s going to be up to Spenser Watkins to get things off to a good start. Last year, and earlier this year, this was not an exciting thing to contemplate. Yet Watkins has, somehow, rebounded to a pitcher who is just about league average, by ERA. His 4.15 ERA adds up to a 97 ERA+, so he’s actually just a touch below average, but after the crap we’ve seen in the Orioles rotation for the past few years, we’ll take it.

Orioles lineup

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

Strange as it is to feel this way about the team, I kind of... like that lineup? If Urías is warming up, that’s a pretty nice 1-7, with some potential from even Odor and Mateo at the bottom of the lineup. We’ll see how long this feeling lasts, I suppose.

Cubs lineup

  1. Rafael Ortega - DH
  2. Willson Contreras - C
  3. Ian Happ - CF
  4. Seiya Suzuki - RF
  5. Nico Hoerner - SS
  6. Patrick Wisdom - 3B
  7. Alfonso Rivas - 1B
  8. Nelson Velázquez - CF
  9. Christopher Morel - 2B

Pitching for the Cubs tonight is Justin Steele, who comes into the game with a 4.13 ERA. Though that’s only a slightly better ERA than Watkins, the ERA+ is better by a few points - Steele, at 103, is as much above league average when adjusting for park and league as Watkins is below it.