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Friday night Orioles game thread: at Blue Jays, 7:07

The first step to a sweep is winning game one. Can the Orioles get it done tonight?

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians
Let’s hope Jordan Lyles is feeling better.
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

A week and a half ago, when the Orioles were only 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays for a wild card spot, O’s fans pointed to their 10 remaining games against Toronto as a great chance for the Birds to control their own destiny. If the Orioles could go at least 6-4 in those matchups, they had a real shot at closing the gap and putting themselves in postseason position.

Unfortunately, the O’s are just 1-3 in that critical 10-game stretch so far, with the Jays winning three of four in Baltimore last week. There’s almost no more margin for error for the O’s as the two squads face off again in Toronto this weekend. The Orioles are going to have to win this three-game set — and preferably sweep — to have any realistic chance of staying in the race.

They’ll try to get it started on the right foot tonight with Jordan Lyles, who’s making just his second start of the month. Lyles was supposed to face the Jays in that previous series, only to be scratched with an illness minutes before game time. He returned to the mound Sept. 10 against Boston but perhaps still wasn’t feeling 100 percent, based on the 3.2-inning, eight-run debacle that followed.

The Blue Jays will be going with a bullpen game, with Trevor Richards serving as an opener and a slew of relievers to follow, likely including Yusei Kikuchi as a bulk guy. The parade of less-reliable pitchers could be a chance for the Orioles’ bats to click things into gear. They’re going to need to if they hope to have any shot at the postseason picture.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
C Adley Rutschman
RF Anthony Santander
1B Ryan Mountcastle
DH Gunnar Henderson
3B Ramon Urias
2B Rougned Odor
LF Austin Hays
SS Jorge Mateo

RHP Jordan Lyles

Blue Jays lineup:

CF George Springer
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
SS Bo Bichette
DH Teoscar Hernandez
2B Cavan Biggio
3B Matt Chapman
LF Raimel Tapia
C Danny Jansen
RF Jackie Bradley Jr.

RHP Trevor Richards