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Monday night Orioles game thread: vs. White Sox, 7:05pm ET

The Orioles welcome the South Siders to Camden Yards looking to take advantage of another sub-.500 opponent.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Baseball is a game where you’re never going to win all the games you’re supposed to win. And yet, the Orioles will surely coming into tonight’s matchup against the White Sox looking to wash the bad taste out of their mouths that came from losing the series finale to the Rockies. The South Siders (like Colorado) are a team that may be good enough to steal a game here and there. However, coming into Monday’s contest they are 52-79, so they’re also a team that a club as good as the Orioles should sweep.

Hoping to lead the charge toward that sweep is rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. The former 2018 first-rounder has been a revelation ever since the Orioles called him back up to the bigs in July. Over those seven starts since his return, Rodriguez has put up a 3.24 ERA, limited opponents to a .218 average and allowed only six extra base hits in 41.2 innings. While the flame-throwing righty never made it past the 5th inning in his first 10 career starts, he’s managed to work 6+ innings in four of the seven starts since his return. Overall this is a new and improved Grayson Rodriguez—the class of pitcher that Birdland was hoping for when the front office initially called him up.

The only problem with those seven outings is Rodriguez’s success hasn’t always translated into Orioles wins. The O’s are 3-4 in those starts, as the bullpen has often failed to protect the lead once their rookie starter leaves the game. Rodriguez has factored in the decision only twice in his last handful of starts (picking up a win and a loss) and the normally reliable O’s bullpen has three blown saves since the All-Star break in Rodriguez starts.

The good news for Grayson and the O’s is that—for once—G-Rod doesn’t draw the short straw and have to face off against one of baseball’s best pitchers. Since his promotion he’s already squared off against the likes of Shane McClanahan, Gerrit Cole and Framber Valdez. Tonight his opposing pitcher will be flame-thrower Michael Kopech.

A former centerpiece in the trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston, Kopech has struggled with injuries and command throughout his time in Chicago. This season has by far been his healthiest season in the majors—with only one trip to the IL so far—but it hasn’t been the most effective for Kopech. While he’s already logged a career-high 120 innings, his 4.95 ERA is a career-worst and leads baseball with 80 walks issued in 2023. Kopech should be a welcome change of pace for the O’s bats that struggled with the soft-tossing starters of the Rockies, as his four-seamer sits around 95mph and can get close to triple digits. Kopech has faced the Orioles once before this season, allowing three runs over five innings in a 7-6 Orioles loss.

Orioles Lineup

  1. Adley Rutschman (S) C
  2. Gunnar Henderson (L) SS
  3. Anthony Santander (S) DH
  4. Ryan Mountcastle (R) 1B
  5. Ryan O’Hearn (L) RF
  6. Cedric Mullins (L) CF
  7. Ramón Urías (R) 3B
  8. Adam Frazier (L) 2B
  9. Ryan McKenna (R) LF

Starting Pitcher: Grayson Rodriguez (3-3, 5.38 ERA, 91 Ks, 1.43 WHIP)

White Sox Lineup

  1. Tim Anderson (R) SS
  2. Andrew Benintendi (L) LF
  3. Luis Robert Jr. (R) CF
  4. Eloy Jiménez (R) DH
  5. Yoan Moncada (S) 3B
  6. Gavin Sheets (L) 1B
  7. Lenyn Sosa (R) 2B
  8. Oscar Colás (L) RF
  9. Korey Lee (R) C

Starting pitcher: Michael Kopech (5-11, 4.95 ERA, 122 Ks, 1.49 WHIP)