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Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread, vs Toronto, 1:05 ET

In which the Birds try to summon some offense and take the rubber match.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Can Gunnar Henderson do more of this against a lefty starter?
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It’s the final match in this three-game stand at Camden Yards. Thus far, the Orioles have dismantled one Toronto ace and been completely silenced by another. Now, they face their first lefty of the series in Yusei Kikuchi.

This is the game that, on paper, they were most likely to win. As a team, the Orioles have almost identical lefty/righty splits, but Kikuchi is more hittable than Bassitt and Berríos were predicted to be.

Not that he was terrible the last time he faced the Orioles. On May 19, Kikuchi allowed three runs in 4.2 innings, all three coming on a Ryan Mountcastle bomb. Kikuchi’s 2.44 home runs allowed per game is the most of an MLB starter, period. While Mounty won’t be in the lineup, still out with vertigo (feel better soon, Ryan!), there are others who could make up for the missing power. Jorge Mateo, Anthony Santander, and Ramón Urías all have good career numbers against Kikuchi, and all are in the lineup today.

Tyler Wells (5-2, 3.24 ERA, 74 K in 75 IP) is actually within the Top 5 on that HR/9 ranking, too, at 1.80 home runs allowed per game. Fortunately for him and for Baltimore, that’s been about his only blemish as a starter this year. He continues to lead the majors with a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.91).

A righty-heavy Orioles lineup today features a rare Ramón Urías sighting at 1B (he’s played well there in relatively few innings, so no complaints), plus Joey Ortiz, making his first appearance since May 24. The only left-handed batter in there is Gunnar Henderson, but with a 1.500 OPS in his last week, you’d have to be a little soft in the head to sit him today. Interestingly, although Gunnar has bad righty/lefty splits for average (.255/.191) his OBP is almost exactly the same (.349/.346). I don’t care; let them walk him ahead of Ramón Urías all day.

Assuming the ball will be flying out of the Yard today, let’s hope it’s more of ours than theirs.

Orioles lineup

1. Austin Hays LF
2. Adley Rutschman DH
3. Anthony Santander RF
4. Gunnar Henderson 3B
5. Ramón Urías 1B
6. James McCann C
7. Jorge Mateo SS
8. Joey Ortiz 2B
9. Ryan McKenna CF

Toronto lineup

1. George Springer DH
2. Bo Bichette SS
3. Daulton Varsho LF
4. Vlad Guerrero Jr. 1B
5. Whit Merrifield 2B
6. Matt Chapman 3B
7. Kevin Kiermaier CF
8. Danny Jansen C
9. Cavan Biggio RF