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Friday night Orioles game thread: at Reds, 6:40

Coming off a winning homestand, the O’s look to continue their push for the Wild Card against the last place Reds.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Kyle Bradish makes his return to the big leagues, replacing the injured Tyler Wells in the rotation.
Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The last time the Orioles paid a visit to Cincinnati in 2017, pitchers still hit in NL ballparks, gas cost $2.30/gallon and the Orioles were on their way to their first of four consecutive, full-season last-place finishes. It’s safe to say a lot has changed in the past five years.

Just in terms of this season, however, Friday night’s matchup sees two teams who have defied expectations—one over-performing, the other...not so much. This time last season, the Reds were in the driver's seat for a playoff spot, while the Orioles were the second worst team in all of baseball. In 2022, those roles have been completely flipped.

Friday’s game is the first of nine straight for the O’s against teams with losing records. While fellow Wild Card hopefuls Seattle and Tampa are battling out against the Astros and Guardians, the Orioles travel to the team with the worst home ERA in all of baseball. The Orioles certainly can’t afford to get complacent, but a win tonight could set them down a path that sees them in a Wild Card spot the next time they play at Camden Yards.

The biggest key for a Baltimore win tonight is what they get out of Kyle Bradish. The rookie right-hander will make his O’s return after being called up Friday morning from a rehab assignment down in Norfolk. Bradish certainly had his ups and down before going on the IL with a shoulder injury. In his third career start, at St. Louis, he went seven innings, allowing only two runs and striking out 11 Cardinals. In his last outing on June 18, he allowed 11 hits instead and got tagged for six runs in 4.1 innings.

The potential is certainly there for Bradish to become a capable major league starter, but to reach that potential he is going to have to become more effective with his fastball. Despite only throwing 46.1 innings this year, Bradish’s fastball ranks as the second worst pitch in all of baseball based on its Run-Value. If the former fourth-round pick can locate his fastball better, and/or do a better job mixing in his slider, curve and changeup, he should set up the Birds to start this road trip with a W.

Orioles Lineup

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

Reds Lineup

  1. Jonathan India (R) 2B
  2. Brandon Drury (R) 3B
  3. Tommy Pham (R) LF
  4. Joey Votto (L) 1B
  5. Kyle Farmer (R) SS
  6. Mike Moustakas (L) DH
  7. Matt Reynolds (R) RF
  8. Nick Senzel (R) CF
  9. Michael Papierski (S) C