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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs. Red Sox, 7:05

The Orioles need to get back to winning before their wild card hopes are extinguished.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Here we are in the latest most important game of the year for the Orioles. Having lost the previous two games, Friday night’s game is important because they need to stop the bleeding. The Orioles have not lost more than two games in a row since right before they launched into their ten-game winning streak early in July.

This would be a bad time to get back to a three-game losing streak. The Orioles have already fumbled away an unfortunate amount of opportunity in the wild card standings. They now sit 2.5 games back of both the Blue Jays and Rays, and they’ve got to pass the Twins as well in order to seize one of those positions. The O’s must also hold off the White Sox, only half a game behind, as well as the Red Sox, 2.5 games back of the O’s.

We’re going to get a new face in the lineup tonight. If you haven’t seen the news earlier, Kyle Stowers is here and Brett Phillips is gone to the great DFA in the sky. Stowers is plugged right into the lineup, playing right field and batting fifth. This moves Anthony Santander to DH. It’s a welcome change. Stowers deserves a chance to show what he can do, and I think there’s a good chance he’ll upgrade the lineup right now. Plus getting Santander out of the outfield is probably an improvement to the defense.

The Orioles difficulties with scoring runs since Saturday will not be resolved by one roster move. The best way out is if some of the guys who’ve stunk since the All-Star break stop stinking. The lineup is still full of those guys even with Stowers plugged in: Ryan Mountcastle, Ramón Urías, Austin Hays, Rougned Odor. All four of them are hitting U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi for the last month.

Some nights, Terrin Vavra might be a replacement for Odor. That won’t be happening for this weekend, though, because Vavra is now on the paternity list. Congratulations to him and his wife.

What the Orioles need, tonight and the rest of the way, is for these guys to bust out of the slumps. If they can do it, they should have a good chance to keep hanging on in the race and maybe even pull themselves back into a playoff spot. If they can’t, well... you know, it’s still been a fun season and we can hope for better next year for the first time in several years. That’s nice. But it’s not as nice as if this fun season ends with a surprise playoff berth.

If the Orioles don’t win this game, the out-of-town scoreboard watching is going to start becoming irrelevant. For those who are still holding out that candle, tonight’s rooting interests: Yankees vs. Blue Jays (you don’t have to actually root for them, just be less annoyed than usual if they win), Royals at Rays, Guardians vs. White Sox, and Rangers at Twins.

Orioles lineup

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

The Orioles will look to Jordan Lyles to pitch well enough to give them a chance to win this one. The O’s are 6-3 in games Lyles has started since the beginning of July. Two of the losses were games where he pitched poorly. He’s had some good outings and some okay ones in there.

Red Sox lineup

  1. Tommy Pham - LF
  2. Alex Verdugo - RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts - SS
  4. Rafael Devers - 3B
  5. Christian Arroyo - 2B
  6. Eric Hosmer - 1B
  7. Rob Refsnyder - DH
  8. Reese McGuire - C
  9. Kiké Hernandez - CF

On the mound for Boston to start tonight will be Kutter Crawford. That’s a great pitcher name, it must be said. He has performed acceptably in his first full MLB season, split evenly between relief outings and starts. Crawford is sitting on a 4.18 ERA, or just about league average (102 ERA+). He has not faced the Orioles as a starting pitcher this year, though he did have a no-outer relief effort back in May where he allowed two runs while failing to retire any batters.