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Orioles Game #73 Game Thread: at Rays, 12:10

With good play and good fortune, the Orioles could end today one game back in the loss column

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

A little two-game series is weird enough. A two-game series with Orioles off days on either side of it is weirder. All of that plus the second game beginning at 12:10 in the afternoon Eastern Time, yep, that’s weirder still. That’s what we’ve got today as the Orioles close out their series against the Rays.

The O’s may be off tomorrow, but the Rays are not, as they’ll start a four-game set against the Royals. With Kansas City having a 20-53 record this season, there will probably not be much or any opportunity to gain ground this weekend, so we can only hope that the Orioles take a game here this afternoon when the chance is in front of them.

We know that the Orioles are capable of beating the Rays. They’ve already done it three times in four games this season. They did it just last night, thankfully managing to score enough offense that they held on to win the game even as their middle-inning relievers stunk. If the O’s can win again today, they’ll be three games back in the standings and one back in the loss column. That’s getting into “so close you can taste it” territory. A loss puts them back to five games back. If you can taste that, the taste isn’t very good.

Orioles lineup

  1. Gunnar Henderson - 3B
  2. Adley Rutschman - C
  3. Anthony Santander - RF
  4. Ryan O’Hearn - DH
  5. Austin Hays - LF
  6. Aaron Hicks - CF
  7. Adam Frazier - 2B
  8. Ramón Urías - 1B
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

Yes, that’s Rutschman catching the day game after catching a night game the previous evening. One might wonder what was the point of shuffling the backup catchers yesterday if they’re not even having the backup catcher as the starter in this situation. Hopefully Adley is not exhausted before season’s end.

Today’s Orioles starting pitcher is Tyler Wells. In the sense that he’s been the best Orioles starter to date, this is good news. I remain nervous due to his homer-allowing problem. The Rays lineup remains dangerous even if it’s not kept up its torried April pace.

Rays lineup

  1. Yandy Díaz - 1B
  2. Wander Franco - SS
  3. Harold Ramírez - DH
  4. Randy Arozarena - LF
  5. Isaac Paredes - 3B
  6. Manuel Margot - RF
  7. Taylor Walls - 2B
  8. Christian Bethancourt - C
  9. José Siri - CF

Rays starting pitcher Taj Bradley has a 4.19 ERA across nine starts. He is averaging fewer than five innings per game started, which is some classic Rays stuff, but he’s been impressive with strikeouts as long as each outing lasts: 63 strikeouts in 43 innings this season. I will not be surprised when he puts up double digits in that column today.