A tough starter awaits for the Orioles as they close out their short homestand with the series finale against the Guardians this afternoon. 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Bieber, who’s been no slouch since winning the award for that odd shortened season, stands in the way of getting a series win.
The Wednesday afternoon game will mark the Orioles debut for Aaron Hicks, signed yesterday as the replacement for Cedric Mullins on the roster. Exactly how often they’ll play Hicks is one of the curiosities about the signing. He’s an Oriole now so we can all hope for the best, but his recent track record is not too encouraging, even if he’s only going to be used as a platoon player.
The other noteworthy thing about the Orioles lineup for the finale is that Keegan Akin is being tapped as the opener. This isn’t super surprising, given the circumstances and who’s on the roster right now, but it’s still not something they usually do. Austin Voth will be standing by to provide bulk innings in relief. They could have had Voth go first but chose to go the opener route instead. I guess we’ll see if it works out.
The full lineup:
- Adam Frazier - 2B
- Adley Rutschman - C
- Anthony Santander - DH
- Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
- Gunnar Henderson - 3B
- Aaron Hicks - CF
- Ryan O’Hearn - RF
- Jorge Mateo - SS
- Ryan McKenna - LF
That is a lineup, all right. That is an outfield. Akin, Voth, and whoever might pitch afterwards, if the Orioles are fortunate enough to have a lead to protect, are going to need all the luck they can get.
At 35-20, the Orioles have won a number of games this season where I looked at the lineup before the game and thought, “This is an automatic loss.” It’s happened before. Possibly it will happen again. Today is definitely one of those games. This one looks grim, but maybe it will work out. And if it doesn’t, at least the Orioles are off tomorrow so we’ll have a day off from having to look at them.