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Orioles on deck: What to watch as Kevin Gausman makes season debut Monday at Rays

Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman (39) at the first day of workouts for position players as well as pitchers and catchers on the field during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman (39) at the first day of workouts for position players as well as pitchers and catchers on the field during spring training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

Orioles (11-6) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (8-10)

Where: Tropicana Field

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First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 The Fan

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Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (NR) vs. Rays RHP Chris Archer (0-4, 7.32 ERA)

What to watch

1. Gausman time. Long viewed as the future ace of the Orioles, Kevin Gausman returns from shoulder tendinitis tonight to make his first start of 2016. This year has often been discussed as the one when the former first-round draft pick needed to break out to deliver on his massive potential. Can he start on the right foot at Tropicana Field?

2. Get him while you can. The Orioles have already beaten up on Rays ace Chris Archer once this season, contributing to an awful start for the 27-year-old right-hander. Archer should be able to find his form at some point after losing each of his first four starts, failing to last longer than 5 1/3 innings in each and twice allowing six runs (once to the Orioles). So can the Orioles take advantage or will they be the first victim of many pundits' Cy Young Award favorite?

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3. Ray of sunshine. The Orioles are 2-0 against the Rays so far this season, sweeping them in Baltimore as part of their 7-0 start. The Orioles have lost six of 10 games since that start, but have yet to drop a series against American League East opponents. Can the Orioles continue that success and stay undefeated against the Rays?

Orioles lineup

LF Joey Rickard
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
RF Mark Trumbo
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
DH Pedro Alvarez
2B Jonathan Schoop

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