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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: vs. Rays, 12:35

After a close-but-no-cigar loss to the Rays last night, the Orioles will again attempt to seal a series win.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Jordan Lyles had two bad starts against the Rays this year. Third time’s the charm, maybe?
James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

You have to hand it to the Orioles. Even when they lose, they make it exciting.

Despite yesterday’s 6-4 defeat to the Rays, there was plenty of energy and life from the Birds, from Adley Rutschman’s two hustle runs on the basepaths to Jorge Mateo’s dramatic game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth. The loss temporarily denied the O’s the chance to clinch a series win, but they can still do so if they take today’s finale.

The Orioles’ lineup in this matinee is not exactly their best, as both Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman are getting the day off for the finale (the Rays’ lineup also isn’t great, with Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz both sitting out). Frustratingly, though, Terrin Vavra remains out of the O’s lineup, still waiting for his MLB debut. Why call up a notable prospect if he’s just going to rot on the bench for three days? Vavra was blisteringly hot at Triple-A Norfolk, batting .324 with an .886 OPS, and his family — including his 35-weeks-pregnant wife, Carlie — flew in to town for the homestand. Granted, the lefty-swinging Vavra is weaker against southpaws, but surely Brandon Hyde could have found a way to get him into the lineup at least once this series.

Jordan Lyles will be looking for some payback against the Rays, who blistered him for the worst start of his O’s career the last time they faced him. Lyles was chased in the third inning — his shortest outing of the year — and gave up six runs, tied for his most of the season. Randy Arozarena and Brett Phillips both took him deep. Lyles didn’t have much more luck against the Rays the first time he faced them this year, his Orioles debut April 9, in which he allowed five runs in five innings. Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough has faced the O’s twice this season with more success, holding them to three earned runs in 9.1 total innings, though the Birds won both games in extras.

The O’s made a few roster moves before the game. They placed Tyler Wells on the 15-day IL with lower left side discomfort after he left last night’s game in obvious pain. They also optioned Nick Vespi, despite his stellar pitching in this series, to make room for a couple of fresh arms in the bullpen. Logan Gillaspie and Beau Sulser are up from Triple-A Norfolk.

Orioles lineup:

LF Austin Hays
DH Trey Mancini
RF Anthony Santander
1B Ryan Mountcastle
2B Ramon Urias
3B Tyler Nevin
SS Jorge Mateo
CF Ryan McKenna
C Robinson Chirinos

RHP Jordan Lyles

Rays lineup:

2B Brandon Lowe
1B Ji-Man Choi
3B Isaac Paredes
DH Luke Raley
RF Josh Lowe
LF Roman Quinn
CF Brett Phillips
SS Taylor Walls
C Rene Pinto

LHP Ryan Yarbrough