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Orioles on deck: What to watch Friday at Twins

Orioles (40-45) vs. Twins (44-41)

Where: Target Field

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First pitch: 8:10 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 FM

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Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.61 ERA) vs. Twins RHP Felix Jorge (1-0, 5.40 ERA)

What to watch

1. Free-fall. The Orioles keep on tumbling. They are now a season-worst five games under .500, and are tied for last place in the division. Their distance from playoff spots gets more unmanageable by the day, and these next three games could be critical to getting to the All-Star break in position to still make a run at the postseason.

2. Gausman's final of the first. As the rest of the Orioles rotation has struggled, including Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman has begun to figure some things out. He has allowed six hits and struck out 13 in 12 1/3 scoreless innings over his past two starts. Can he keep the dominant run going to halt the Orioles' slide?

3. .300 club. Jonathan Schoop, deservedly the Orioles' lone All-Star, is heading toward the break on a roll. Schoop has hits in four straight, including a three-hit performance Thursday that pushed his season average above .300 for the first time since May. He's hitting .301 after posting a 1.096 OPS during his hitting streak.

Orioles lineup

RF Seth Smith
3B Manny Machado
2B Jonathan Schoop
CF Adam Jones
DH Mark Trumbo
1B Trey Mancini
LF Hyun Soo Kim
C Caleb Joseph
​​​​​​​SS Ruben Tejada

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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