O's game blog: Birds aim for series win in finale

The Orioles need a win tonight against Tampa Bay to extend a four-series winning streak in American League East games. The O's lead this series two wins to one.

In fact, the Orioles have lost just one of their last 13 AL East series, winning 10 and tying two others. They are 11-3-2 in division series for the season.

The Orioles have gone 32-20 (.615) against the East this season, posting the best in-division winning percentage in the AL and the second-best in the majors. Per STATS, the O's .627 winning percentage against the East would be their highest since posting a .628 mark (49-29) in 1980.

Bud Norris (11-8, 3.91 ERA) will make his 22nd start for the Orioles. In nine home starts he is 5-2 with a 2.86 ERA, allowing one earned run or fewer five times.

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In nine starts against the AL East in 2014, Norris is 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA and the Orioles are 8-1 in those games.

Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 2.56 ERA) starts for the Rays. Hellickson pitched in the minors earlier this year while on the comeback trail from elbow surgery in January.

He didn't make his major league debut for this season until July 8. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his seven starts. He is 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA in three road starts.

In 17 career games against the Orioles he is 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA. He had an ERA of 2.30 against the Orioles from 2010-2012.

The Orioles bullpen contributed five scoreless innings last night and the 'pen has recorded 13 consecutive scoreless innings over the last four games. In the O's last 14 games, the bullpen ERA is 1.28.

In the last 31 games the bullpen ERA is 1.65, lowering their season ERA from 3.49 to 3.05. That ranks fourth in the AL in bullpen ERA.

Tampa Bay pitchers lead the majors with 1,196 strikeouts and are on pace for 1,457, which would break the all-time record of 1,428 set by the 2013 Tigers.

The Orioles are 17-6 at home since June 30 and have not lost consecutive home games since June 28-29.


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