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Saturday night Orioles game thread: at Atlanta, 7:15 ET

Can the Orioles take down a second consecutive Braves ace in Spencer Strider?

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Atlanta Braves
Your Orioles first baseman for tonight, Ramón Urías.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Newton’s Third Law tells us that when two bodies collide in motion, they apply to each other equal and opposite force. But last night, when the Orioles’ .777 OPS collided with the 0.45 ERA of Atlanta ace Max Fried, it was Fried’s ERA that took a beating.

This was an unexpected and excellent development for a team that, so far, has been feasting on mostly subpar pitching.

They’ll have to do the same tonight as they face Atlanta’s No. 2, Spencer Strider, who’s 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA and an NL-leading 57 K’s. The young righty has a top-flight fastball that averages 97.1 mph and boasts an 83rd-percentile spin rate. But it’s Strider’s slider and changeup that are his swing-and-misses pitches: the slider has a 51% whiff rate and the changeup 61%. He only throws the changeup 5% of the time but it’s his favorite putaway pitch.

One piece of good news for the Orioles: last time out Strider had some trouble against the Mets, giving up four runs on five hits and struggling to find the zone somewhat, only 57% of his pitches going for strikes. (Also, if the Orioles could figure out Max Fried...)

On Friday night, the Orioles got an unexpectedly solid start from Dean Kremer, who’s struggled to find consistency this season. It’s samesies for Kyle Bradish, who’s had a very up-and-down season thus far. In his very first start of the season, Bradish left early after taking a comebacker off the foot. He missed some time, then pitched six shutout innings in D.C. in his first start back. After that Bradish allowed seven runs to the Red Sox before pitching okay against a weak-hitting Detroit, throwing four scoreless before giving up three runs in the fifth. It wasn’t bad, but this team still needs him to provide more length.

Per Statcast data, Bradish’s fastball has been a liability so far: it’s down 0.7 mph from an average of 94.6 mph last season. His changeup spin is down some, too, and he’s not getting whiffs on it like he did in 2022. The Bradish curveball has been effective but he’s had trouble landing it. You have to hope Bradish settles in and finds his arsenal soon.

There’s not much interesting to say about the opposing pitcher matchups today, because James McCann is the only player on either team who’s faced the opposing starter, and he’s not out there in what is, against the righty Strider, understandably a very lefty-heavy lineup (six of nine, counting the switch hitters). To make way for all of these lefties on the diamond, Hyde is having Ramón Urías play first base, his first start at the position all year. I guess if you play for Brandon Hyde, you’re going to have to own a lot of gloves. Meanwhile, the Stowers Cannon is back in left field.

Let’s go O’s!

Orioles lineup

1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Adley Rutschman C
3. Ryan Mountcastle DH
4. Anthony Santander RF
5. Gunnar Henderson 3B
6. Adam Frazier 2B
7. Jorge Mateo SS
8. Kyle Stowers LF
9. Ramón Urías 1B

Atlanta lineup

1. Ronald Acuña Jr. RF
2. Matt Olson 1B
3. Austin Riley 3B
4. Sean Murphy C
5. Eddie Rosario LF
6. Ozzie Albies 2B
7. Marcell Ozuna DH
8. Michael Harris II CF
9. Vaughn Grissom SS