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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs. Yankees, 7:05

The second half of the season begins with three games against the Yankees.

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Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
Tonight’s batterymates for Baltimore.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Can you believe these Orioles? 180 games under .500 over their last three seasons and now they’re 46-46. After a 7-14 record in April, they kept getting better, going 14-16 in May, 14-12 in June and so far in July they’re 11-4. No one expected this: even The Athletic’s Dan Connolly predicted the team would finish 56-106. But it’d still be nice if it could continue.

So now what awaits this team? Only the American League’s toughest remaining schedule. That kicks off tonight, with three games against the best team in the League. Sheesh. The O’s are 4-9 against the New York Yankees thus far, which, as Mark pointed out in his series preview, isn’t that bad considering that the Yankees have a .681 winning percentage overall.

But if there exists a chance to take New York down, why not with their best starter on the mound? Tyler Wells started the year slow, but he posted a sub-3 era in both May and June and doubled his season K/9 rate in the month of July (9.2). In three starts against New York this season, Wells is 1-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Of the current squad, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have had Wells’ number in the past, Stanton with a .286 career average and one home run against him, and Judge with a .364 career average against but no home runs. I hope Wells can keep them in the yard tonight.

The Yankees’ starting rotation has an enviable 3.26 ERA this season, with five regulars posting a sub-4 mark. At 3.86, Jameson Taillon is what passes for a slacker on this front—except he also has a 10-2 record, because the Yankees are putting up 5.56 runs per game for him (grrr). Taillon has allowed five runs to Baltimore this year in two starts totaling 9.2 innings. Against Taillon, Austin Hays has a .545 average in 11 at-bats, while Cedric Mullins is .364 with two home runs off the Yankees righty.

I’m still not used to seeing Aaron Judge manning CF for the Yankees (but I’m wrong, he’s made 48 starts there this season) and Adley Rutschman is hitting in the two-spot for the Orioles. Have you ever seen a catcher hitting in the two-spot?

Anyway, the conversation around the Orioles has turned from whether they’d be competitive by 2025 to whether they can compete right now. As Mike Elias has said, the Orioles’ strategy at the trade deadline is to be “flexible,” which might be GM-speak for “I’m not really sure which way we’re trending.” Keeping up their winning—or at least around .500—ways against the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays, coming into town next, will be key to determining their fate.

Let’s go O’s!

Orioles lineup

1. Cedric Mullins CF

2. Adley Rutschman C

3. Trey Mancini DH

4. Anthony Santander RF

5. Ryan Mountcastle 1B

6. Austin Hays LF

7. Rougned Odor 2B

8. Ramón Urías 3B

9. Jorge Mateo SS

Yankees lineup

1. DJ LeMahieu 2B

2. Aaron Judge CF

3. Anthony Rizzo 1B

4. Giancarlo Stanton DH

5. Josh Donaldson 3B

6. José Trevino C

7. Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS

8. Tim Locastro RF

9. Joey Gallo LF