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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs. Mariners, 7:05pm ET

The O’s and M’s square off for the first time this season, with Baltimore looking to stay atop the Wild Card race and Seattle hoping not to get left behind.

Baltimore Orioles v Chicago Cubs Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Several Orioles hope to be showing off in front of Mariners fans and the rest of the baseball world in a few weeks when they take to Seattle for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game. Tonight, the O’s will have to settle for showing off in front of the Birdland faithful as they hope to take game 1 off their visitors from the Pacific Northwest.

Last year, the Orioles struggled to a 2-4 record against the Mariners and Seattle ultimately did what the O’s couldn’t in making it to the postseason. Entering tonight’s match up, the situations have changed for both clubs. The Orioles are currently perched atop the Wild Card standings and have Tampa Bay within their sight in a battle for first-place in the AL East. Seattle, meanwhile, finds themselves four games out of a playoff spot, a game under .500 and just trying to stay afloat in the AL postseason race.

Given the Orioles recent history, it seems a bit of a stretch to say they should beat any team. However, a home series against a mediocre Mariners team is exactly the type of series serious playoff contenders consistently win. Taking the opener tonight would put Baltimore in a great position to take the series and continue their march toward postseason baseball.

Leading the O’s into battle against the M’s is veteran leader of the pitching staff Kyle Gibson. While he hasn’t done enough to earn him a trip to Seattle in July, Gibson’s time as an Orioles has been a success so far. The 11-year vet has enjoyed his time at Camden Yards especially, where’s he’s put up a 3.53 home ERA—while the O’s have gone 4-2 in Gibson’s six home starts. As a longtime starting pitcher in the AL—and former Texas Ranger—Gibson is plenty familiar with the Seattle. In 13 career starts against the Mariners, Gibson is 4-4 with a 3.77 ERA—though the M’s have hit .288 off him in that time. Gibson change up and sweeper has been his best off-speed pitches this season. Look for the big righty to target young hitters Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez with the change, while working his sweeper away from former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernández.

Opposing Gibson is third-year right hander Logan Gilbert. What Gilbert lacks in experience—compared to the O’s starter—he makes up for with an electric fastball and two hard breaking balls. If Gilbert keys in on his four-seamer early on, look for Austin Hays and Adley Rutschman to find success against the 26-year old. Hays comes in hitting .431 with a .785 slugging percentage against fastballs, while Rutschman sports a .311 average with a .511 SLG% off heaters. Both the O’s catcher and left fielder hope to be in Seattle in a couple of weeks, so big performance against the All-Star Game’s host would certainly help their causes.

Orioles Lineup

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

Starting pitcher: Kyle Gibson (8-4, 3.94 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)

Mariners Lineup

  1. Jarred Kelenic (L) LF
  2. Julio Rodríguez (R) CF
  3. Ty France (R) 1B
  4. Teoscar Hernández (R) RF
  5. Cal Raleigh (S) DH
  6. Eugenio Suárez (R) 3B
  7. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
  8. Tom Murphy (R) C
  9. José Caballero (R) SS

Starting Pitcher: Logan Gilbert (4-4, 4.31 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)