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Orioles on deck: What to watch Thursday vs. Astros

Orioles (66-53) vs. Astros (61-59)

Where: Camden Yards

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (3-10, 4.04 ERA) vs. Astros RHP Joe Musgrove (1-0, 1.47 ERA)

What to watch

1. Fix it: After gutting out Sunday's series finale in San Francisco, the Orioles were outscored 13-4 in a brief two-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. That dropped the Orioles to third place in the American League East for the first time this season, 119 games in. With the Red Sox having already lost today and the first-place Toronto Blue Jays off, will the Orioles take advantage and move back into second place?

2. Young arms: Orioles 25-year-old Kevin Gausman faces Astros 23-year-old Joe Musgrove in a meeting of young arms pitching well. Gausman is coming off an odd start in San Francisco, where he walked six and struck out nine in four innings, but still allowed just two runs. He has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his past six starts. Musgrove, a 2011 first-round draft pick of the Blue Jays, comes in with three earned runs in 18 1/3 innings over his first three major league appearances (two starts). Will Gausman bounce back and will the Orioles get to Musgrove?

3. Welcome back, Pedro: Because of a road interleague series without the benefit of the designated hitter and two left-handed starters pitching for the Red Sox, Pedro Alvarez makes his first start since Aug. 11. Alvarez walked (and scored) in his only plate appearance since. Will one of the Orioles' hottest hitters be able to stay hot despite the untimely time off?

Orioles lineup

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

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