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Sunday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Rays, 1:40

Jordan Lyles heads to the hill as the Orioles look to close out a fun first half in style down in Tampa.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a big day in Baltimore. Within the span of a just a few hours, the Orioles will wrap up an insanely fun first half of the season with a .500 or better record, and then the front office will make the first overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. Rising tide, indeed.

The draft is going to be the top story of the day, and with good reason. Selecting at number one overall is a huge deal. It is an opportunity to add a massive talent to your organization, and it can be league-altering. The impact of Adley Rutschman, the top pick in 2019, is already evident. Getting another talent of that level would be crucial for perennial success in Baltimore.

But first, let’s play some ball. A win today would be huge for the Birds. It would guarantee they have a winning record over the All-Star break. It would give them four consecutive series wins. It could potentially move them within 1.5 games of a playoff spot. And it could even push them into the positive when it comes to run differential on the season (they are currently -5 run differential).

Brandon Hyde is sending out is A-squad for the occasion, and that includes starter Jordan Lyles, who has a 1.86 ERA over three July starts. His most recent start may have been his best of the year. He went seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts against the Cubs. Hyde has often asked him to go as deep as possible, but that shouldn’t be a concern here with the cushion of the break coming up. Just about everyone but Jorge López should be available out of the bullpen.

Orioles Starting Lineup

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

Jordan Lyles, RHP (6-7, 4.37 ERA)

Rays Starting Lineup

  1. Josh Lowe, RF
  2. Harold Ramírez, 1B
  3. Randy Arozarena, LF
  4. Brandon Lowe, DH
  5. Isaac Paredes, 3B
  6. Taylor Walls, SS
  7. Brett Phillips, CF
  8. Francisco Mejía, C
  9. Ya Chang, 2B

Corey Kluber, RHP (5-5, 3.58 ERA)