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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: at Cleveland, 6:10 ET


2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Gunnar Henderson, ranging down the line to make a play during the 2022 All-Star Futures Game on July 16th.
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Yes, the Orioles offense has been flatlining, managing just a measly .561 OPS over their last seven games. And at a really bad time: last night’s series-opening loss in Cleveland dropped them to 3 games back of the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot.

But there’s hope! And more reasons to watch this team: Gunnar Henderson and DL Hall have been called up to the big-league club, with Henderson directly inserted into tonight’s lineup. No languishing in the dugout waiting for a late-innings pinch run opportunity for this guy: Gunnar will bat sixth and wear the No. 2, last seen on Freddie Galvis but, more memorably, on this guy.

Baltimore’s second-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Henderson started the 2022 season with only five games of experience above Single-A but over 112 games this year, he’s veritably set the minors on fire. Henderson compiled a .944 OPS across Double-A and Triple-A all the while never facing a pitcher younger than himself. From MLB’s No. 41 prospect when the season started, he’s No. 2 now. So I’d say the promotion is pretty well-deserved.

Meanwhile, O’s starter Jordan Lyles has been the gritty, unspectacular innings-eater the Orioles hoped they were getting when they signed him—albeit with much better numbers. Lyles’ 4.45 ERA is over half a run lower than his career mark of 5.12. The veteran righty has been allowing tons of hits (as evidenced by a 1.462 WHIP) but he’s somehow preventing most of them from scoring. Whether this is thanks to improved command, the Orioles’ defense, or even The Wall, let’s hope it continues for Lyles at least until the end of the season.

Facing Lyles on the mound for Cleveland is the third-year right hander Triston McKenzie. Listed at 6’5, 165 lbs, the comically skinny McKenzie is putting up serious numbers for Cleveland this season, with a 3.17 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP in 24 games. McKenzie is primarily a fastball pitcher, but he throws a curveball about 21% of the time, and right now it’s his most effective pitch, with batters hitting .122 against it.

Sounds like Brandon Hyde has the right idea in stacking the box with lefties. Let’s see if Gunnar can inject some pop into this lineup tonight.

Orioles lineup

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

Guardians lineup

1. Steven Kwan - LF
2. Amed Rosario - SS
3. José Ramírez - 3B
4. Josh Naylor - 1B
5. Oscar Gonzalez - RF
6. Andrés Giménez - 2B
7. Richie Palacios - DH
8. Luke Maile - C
9. Will Benson - CF