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Monday night Orioles game thread: vs. Athletics, 6:35

The O’s debut their half-hour-earlier game time as they hope to rack up some wins against the lowly A’s.

Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers
Kyle Gibson makes his home debut for the Orioles tonight, seeking his third win of the year.
Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Orioles’ opening series at Camden Yards against the Yankees drew crowds of 45,017, 30,561, and 29,221 this past weekend, an average of about 35,000 per game.

Now the O’s welcome in the lowly Athletics to resume their homestand. Be honest: what are the odds that these four games even combine for 35,000 fans?

A midweek April series against a non-divisional opponent that is currently tied for the worst record in baseball? Yeah, I don’t think the fans are going to be turning out in droves.

Still, the O’s are trying to do what they can to boost attendace. Tonight, for the first time ever, first pitch is scheduled for 6:35, a half hour earlier than the 7:05 game times that have been the norm for many years. Every Orioles weeknight home game before Memorial Day and after Labor Day will start at 6:35 this year, in hopes of making it easier for families to get in and out of the ballpark at a reasonable hour on school nights. It’s a plan the O’s were initially going to implement in 2020 before the pandemic made it a crowdless season, then were set to try again in 2021 before reversing course once more.

Tonight also marks the Orioles home debut of Kyle Gibson, whose first two starts as a Bird came on the road. Gibson earned the victory in both and is the only O’s starter with any wins so far. In his career, Gibson is 3-1 with a 4.13 ERA at Camden Yards in six starts, all coming as an O’s opponent.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
C Adley Rutschman
1B Ryan Mountcastle
DH Anthony Santander
LF Austin Hays
3B Ramon Urías
2B Adam Frazier
SS Jorge Mateo
RF Ryan McKenna

RHP Kyle Gibson

This is the second of four straight lefty starters the O’s will face. Gunnar Henderson is on the bench for the second time in 10 games this year, which seems like too many for a player of his talent, even if he is 0-for-6 against lefties so far. The Orioles have already seen plenty of A’s starter JP Sears, who pitched against them three times in his rookie year last season — twice as a Yankee, once as an Athletic — and held them to two runs in 12 innings, earning two wins.

Athletics lineup:

2B Tony Kemp
1B Ryan Noda
DH Aledmys Diaz
RF Ramón Laureano
3B Jace Peterson
SS Kevin Smith
LF Conner Capel
C Shea Langeliers
CF Esteury Ruiz

LHP JP Sears

Raise your hands if you’ve ever heard of more than three batters in this A’s lineup. This Kevin Smith is neither the former O’s prospect nor the director of Clerks, but is a former Maryland Terrapins standout. Laureano, the longest tenured Athletics position player, has two career homers against Gibson. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope Peterson, a forgettable 2018-19 Oriole, doesn’t pull a Franchy Cordero and become the latest O’s footnote to have a big series against his former club. I hope the same of Jesús Aguilar, who contributed little to the Birds last year but is looming on the Oakland bench tonight.