Orioles and Reds Saturday night lineups and notes

John Means makes his 2024 debut tonight as the Orioles continue their series in Cincinnati following last night’s 3-0 win. And after Cole Irvin ran his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings.

Means hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since Sept. 29 against the Red Sox, when he allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He faced teammates in a simulated game at Camden Yards prior to the Division Series and experienced discomfort in his elbow/forearm area that led to his exclusion from the roster, a delayed off-season throwing program and stint on the injured list.

Tonight marks his latest comeback to the rotation, and he’s with a club that’s 21-11, has won 13 of its last 18 games and is one ahead of the Yankees for first place.

The Reds are a new opponent for Means, who’s posted a career 3.97 ERA in 13 starts against the National League.

Jeimer Candelario is 3-for-8 with a double, triple, RBI and walk against him. Santiago Espinal is 2-for-2 with a double and RBI.

Colton Cowser is out of the lineup on back-to-back nights. Ryan McKenna gets the start in left field.

Jorge Mateo remains at second base. James McCann is setting the target for Means.

Ryan Mountcastle, who stayed in last night’s game and is in tonight’s lineup after appearing to tweak his left knee while sliding into second base – the MASN cameras kept showing him flexing it between pitches – is batting .438 with three home runs and a 1.125 slugging percentage when ahead in the count.

Anthony Santander has registered a .977 OPS against left-handers this season compared to .560 versus right-handers. He’s in right field and batting cleanup.

The Orioles have gone 102 consecutive regular-season series without being swept.

Cincinnati left-hander Andrew Abbott, a second-round draft pick in 2021 out of the University of Virginia, has registered a 3.27 ERA and 1.121 WHIP in six starts. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of the first five.

Left-handed hitters are slashing .193/.235/.257 with two home runs against Abbott in his career, and right-handers slashing .249/.326/.465 with 19 homers.

The Orioles saw Abbott on June 27, 2023, when he held them to one run and two hits with eight strikeouts in six innings at Camden Yards. It was his fifth major league start.

Jordan Westburg was 2-for-2. Gunnar Henderson went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Elly De La Cruz, who had both Reds hits last night, is batting .542 with a 1.250 slugging percentage against fastballs at home this season compared to .231 and .385 on the road, per STATS.

For the Orioles

Gunnar Henderson SS
Adley Rutschman DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Jordan Westburg 3B
Jorge Mateo 2B
Cedric Mullins CF
James McCann C
Ryan McKenna LF

John Means LHP

For the Reds

Jonathan India 2B
Elly De La Cruz SS
Spencer Steer LF
Tyler Stephenson C
Christian Encarnacion-Strand 1B
Jeimer Candelario DH
Santiago Espinal 3B
Will Benson RF
Stuart Fairchild CF

Andrew Abbott LHP

Terrin Vavra recovered from shoulder surgery and returned to game action this morning in the Florida Complex League opener in Sarasota.

Vavra led off and played first base against the FCL Pirates and went 0-for-3 with an RBI groundout and hit by pitch.

Third baseman Max Wagner, also on an injury rehab assignment, was 1-for-4.

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