Inclement weather spoils Orioles’ opener plans, postpones series finale vs. Blue Jays to Sept. 11 doubleheader

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BALTIMORE — The Orioles planned to get creative for what was scheduled to be rookie left-hander Keegan Akin’s final outing of the first half of the season. Instead, they’ll skip his turn in the rotation entirely.

Hours after the club announced that right-handed reliever Dillon Tate would make his first career starter in Thursday night’s series finale with the Toronto Blue Jays — with Akin pitching in a bulk role behind him — the game was postponed because of inclement weather in Baltimore stemming from Tropical Storm Elsa. It will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader Sept. 11 the next time the Blue Jays visit Camden Yards.

Right-handers Jorge López, Thomas Eshelman and Spenser Watkins, respectively, will start the Orioles’ final three games before the All-Star break against the Chicago White Sox. Akin, who has a 7.46 ERA this year, could be available in long relief if needed. With the top of Toronto’s lineup being predominantly right-handed, the decision to start Tate was made in hopes of allowing Akin to begin his outing without facing them immediately.

An Orioles starter has completed five innings only once in the past 10 games.

“It’s just to try to maybe shorten the game a little bit for Keegan,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re having a tough time having our starters go deep in the game, and we’re just kind of trying this out.”

The rotation will be boosted by the impending return of All-Star left-hander John Means, who will make his second rehabilitation start Friday with Double-A Bowie in a home game against Richmond.

Means, who has not pitched since exiting in the first inning of his May 5 start with a left shoulder strain, will pitch three to four innings for the Baysox, Hyde said. He will make one more rehab start, with Triple-A Norfolk, and although Means will join the Orioles in Kansas City, Missouri, for their first series of the second half, Hyde said he won’t start until the fourth or fifth game after the break during their series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Baltimore made a roster move on the pitching side Thursday, optioning rookie Zac Lowther to Norfolk and calling up recent waiver claim Shaun Anderson. Anderson, a 26-year-old right-hander, had a 3.52 ERA with the San Francisco Giants in 2020 but allowed nine earned runs in 8 2/3 innings with the Minnesota Twins this year. He joined the Orioles organization after the Texas Rangers designated him for assignment late last month.

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