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Friday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Cubs, 2:20 ET

Cole Irvin takes on an exclusively right-handed Cubs lineup in the afternoon opener of a three-game weekend set.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
The Cole Irvin comeback tour continues.
Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

Think fast! The Orioles are opening their three-game series against the Cubs with an afternoon game on a Friday, a rarity for the O’s if not for Wrigley Field. All three games of this series will be day games, giving the O’s four in a row after an afternoon contest wrapped up the Birds’ homestand yesterday. The Birds have a winning record in day games this year, albeit just four games over .500 (16-12), as opposed to 14 games over .500 in night games.

With a win today, the Orioles would move to 19 games over .500 for the season, a feat they haven’t accomplished since they won the AL East in 2014. Any time you’re able to make comparisons to the 2014 Orioles, it’s a good thing. Cole Irvin will be on the bump for the Orioles after a successful return to the majors in his last start against Kansas City. The Cubs, while not a high-octane offense, are certainly better than the hapless Royals, and they’re sending out a lineup stacked entirely with right-handed hitters. Righties have crushed Irvin in his four starts — a .322/.382/.525 slash line — so he’s got his work cut out for him.

One of those right-handed hitters facing Irvin is former Orioles star Trey Mancini, who has not hit well in his first year for the Cubs, slashing .237/.303/.345 in 55 games. Still, with the Cubs having just demoted first base prospect Matt Mervis after releasing Eric Hosmer last month, Mancini figures to get the bulk of the starts at first base for the time being.

Never forget that Trey is the absolute best. I wrote in the series preview that I didn’t want Mancini to heat up until after this series is over, but on second thought, I’d be OK if he tore it up for these next three games — as long as the Orioles still win them all.

Orioles lineup:

3B Gunnar Henderson
C Adley Rutschman
RF Anthony Santander
1B Ryan O’Hearn
LF Austin Hays
CF Aaron Hicks
2B Adam Frazier
DH Ramón Urías
SS Jorge Mateo

LHP Cole Irvin

Cubs lineup:

2B Nico Hoerner
SS Dansby Swanson
CF Christopher Morel
RF Seiya Suzuki
DH Yan Gomes
1B Trey Mancini
LF Patrick Wisdom
C Miguel Amaya
3B Nick Madrigal

RHP Kyle Hendricks