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Orioles on deck: What to watch Wednesday vs. Royals

Orioles (52-54) vs. Royals (55-50)

Where: Camden Yards

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

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Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.73 ERA) vs. Royals LHP Jason Vargas (13-4, 3.00)

What to watch

1. High five. Perhaps it has something to do with the desperation of being almost pushed out of the playoff hunt, but the Orioles have won four in a row to draw to within 3½ games of the Royals for the second wild card. A fifth straight win and a sweep will have a move on the wild-card leaders looking somewhat realistic with the Detroit Tigers up next.

2. Hellickson debuts. Jeremy Hellickson makes his first start with the Orioles tonight, after being acquired Friday. He hasn't pitched since July 22, and maybe the rest will do him good. He had a 5.74 ERA over his last 11 starts with the Philadelphia Phillies.

3. Beckham intrigue. New Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham had an interesting debut with two hits and two runs scored in Tuesday's win. There were some touchy moments, but he gets another start tonight with a chance to show off the skill set that made him the No. 1 pick in the draft nine years ago.

Orioles lineup

CF Adam Jones

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

DH Trey Mancini

1B Chris Davis

SS Tim Beckham

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RF Joey Rickard

C Caleb Joseph

LF Craig Gentry

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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