clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thursday night Orioles game thread: at Rays, 6:40

It’s a battle for AL East supremacy, and the O’s send veteran Kyle Gibson to the bump.

Miami Marlins v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

This series has looked like an important one for quite a while. But it took on a new meaning Wednesday when an Orioles win and a Rays loss jumped the O’s to the front of the AL East by mere percentage points. Yes, Tampa still has two more wins, but they’ve also got two more losses. Math matters, folks!

If you need an in-depth look at the series ahead, check out John’s preview post from earlier today.

Kyle Gibson is back on the bump, and while it seems unfair to say his spot in the rotation is in peril, he does need to get better. The Orioles should be shopping for another starting pitcher before the deadline. Perhaps that person steps in for rookie Grayson Rodriguez, but it could also be in place of Gibson if things continue to go south.

The O’s enter this series with a 3-2 season advantage against the Rays, and they split a two-game set at Tropicana Field last month. Another split of these four games would honestly be fine against MLB’s best home team. Winning three out of four would be way cooler.

We may see the Orioles debut of new reliever Shintaro Fujinami at some point. It’s unclear where he falls in the bullpen pecking order just. Perhaps right under Danny Coulombe and Bryan Baker? Things change fast in a big league bullpen, so the situation he enters for his first appearance may not be the same as the one he grows into beyond July.

Orioles Starting Lineup

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

Kyle Gibson, RHP (9-6, 4.77 ERA)

Mateo gets a start against a right-handed pitcher, a rarity these days. You may have expected Adam Frazier, especially since he sat on Wednesday against a southpaw. Perhaps this an effort from Brandon Hyde to place defense over offense against these Rays.

Cowser gets back into the starting lineup. The rookie has not looked overmatched, per se, but he’s also not getting many hits. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Henderson’s early struggles this season, although perhaps a bit grander. He deserves some leash to figure himself out. With the health of Cedric Mullins up in the air, the O’s have room to let him learn and work through growing pains.

Rays Starting Lineup

  1. Yandy Díaz, DH
  2. Wander Franco, SS
  3. Luke Raley, 1B
  4. Randy Arozarena, LF
  5. Brandon Lowe, 2B
  6. Jose Siri, CF
  7. Josh Lowe, RF
  8. Taylor Walls, 3B
  9. Francisco Mejía, C

Tyler Glasnow, RHP (3-3, 3.78 ERA)

It’s the biggest series of the season. Many more promise to follow. Let’s go O’s!