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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Astros, 7:05pm ET

The O’s look to rebound from Tuesday’s disappointing loss as Jack Flaherty makes his first home start as an Oriole.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

In past Orioles seasons, a late inning collapse like the Orioles experienced on Tuesday night might be enough to send Baltimore into a losing spiral they couldn’t get out of. Instead, as they’ve done all season, the O’s have the chance to bounce back from a loss with a statement win. The good news is that closer Félix Bautista has only allowed exactly one home run each month of this season (the July one coming in the All-Star game), so all signs say he should return to his normal dominant form as the O’s continue their push for an AL East title.

The other good news is that the O’s can turn to recent addition Jack Flaherty to start a new winning streak. The former Cardinals’ ace looked excellent in his debut last week in Toronto. He only allowed one run over six innings while picking up eight strikeouts. After allowing the first two base runners he faced to reach, Flaherty proceeded to set down the next 15 Blue Jays. He even worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the 6th, limiting Toronto to one run.

Tonight will be Flaherty’s second career start against Houston, his first coming back in July of 2019 in St. Louis. Although Flaherty did not factor in the decision, he had strong outing, going six innings while allowing on three hits and striking out nine. In his start against the Blue Jays, Flaherty used his cutter to great effect to befuddle Toronto’s lineup. If he turns to the cutter again tonight, he’ll have to make sure he doesn’t leave one over the plate to Houston second baseman, Jose Altuve. The former MVP is hitting .400 with a 1.000 slugging percentage against cutters this season.

Opposing Flaherty for the Astros tonight is 26-year-old right-hander Cristian Javier. After an excellent 2022 season, Javier has struggled a but more in 2023. That’s been especially true as of late, as Javier has a 6.66 ERA five starts since the beginning of July. Javier has also struggled greatly away from Houston this season, posting a 5.29 ERA on the road compared to a 3.19 ERA in Minute Maid Park. Hopefully, for the Orioles’ sake, those trends hold up tonight in Baltimore.

Orioles lineup

  1. Adley Rutschman (S) C
  2. Gunnar Henderson (L) SS
  3. Anthony Santander (S) RF
  4. Ryan O’Hearn (L) 1B
  5. Ryan Mountcastle (R) DH
  6. Adam Frazier (L) 2B
  7. Austin Hays (R) LF
  8. Jordan Westburg (R) 3B
  9. Colton Cowser (L) CF

Starting pitcher: Jack Flaherty (8-6, 4.28 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)

Astros lineup

  1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
  2. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
  3. Yordan Alvarez (L) DH
  4. Kyle Tucker (L) RF
  5. Chas McCormick (R) LF
  6. José Abreu (R) 1B
  7. Jeremy Peña (R) SS
  8. Mauricio Dubón (R) CF
  9. Martín Maldonado (R) C

Starting pitcher: Cristian Javier (7-2, 4.39 ERA, 1.21 WHIP)