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Sunday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Twins, 2:10 ET

The Orioles try to shake the back-end bullpen blues in Game 3 in Minnesota. 

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays
Tyler Wells has the chance to stem the tide today in Game 3.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Well, that was deja vu of the worst kind, didn’t it?

“Orioles starter ______, whom nobody thought had a prayer to outduel Minnesota’s _______, who’s been dominant in 2022, silenced a dangerous Twins lineup over ___ efficient innings until O’s closer Jorge López uncharacteristically suddenly squandered the game in the ninth.”

Two ninth-inning gut punches in a row, a definite first this year.

The good news to come out of Games 1 and 2, such as it is:

  • Against a first-place Minnesota team and its first-rate hitters and starting rotation, the Orioles played competitive ball for 18 innings, leading for 13 of them.
  • Baltimore got encouragingly competitive starts from Spenser Watkins and Jordan Lyles, of whom, perhaps, less was expected?
  • Today’s Orioles starter, Tyler Wells (6-4, 3.23 ERA, 43 K) has been on fire over the last two months (2.70 ERA, .204 OAA), including retiring 14 batters in a row in his last start. So if anyone in this rotation had to play the anchor, he’s the guy I’d pick.

Up against Wells is the Twins’ Devin Smeltzer (4-1, 2.86 ERA, 31 K). Smeltzer has a 1.01 WHIP in 50.1 innings and a 2-0 record and 1.50 ERA at home. This is his first full season, and only the lately cold Rougned Odor has seen him. Righties hit Smeltzer a little better than lefties, with a .687/.500 OPS split—hence a righty-heavy arsenal today.

Orioles Lineup

LF Austin Hays

DH Trey Mancini

1B Ryan Mountcastle

RF Anthony Santander

C Adley Rutschman

3B Tyler Nevin

2B Rougned Odor

CF Ryan McKenna

SS Richie Martin

Twins Lineup

1B Luis Arraez

SS Carlos Correa

2B Jorge Polanco

DH Byron Buxton

3B José Miranda

RF Max Kepler

LF Nick Gordon

C Gary Sanchez

1B Alex Kirilloff

CF Gilberto Celestino