The Orioles have won four of their last five and six of eight games. They are 24-12 in their last 36 games. They are 10-3 in their last 13 home games.
They’d like all that winning to continue tonight at home against Seattle when Miguel Gonzalez (5-5, 3.77 ERA) faces 24-year-old left-hander James Paxton (2-0, 2.25 ERA).
Gonzalez is pitching very well recently. He’s given up two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts and seven of his last 10.
He is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.82 in the past four starts and is 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA in his last 10.
In seven Camden Yards starts this season, he is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.24.
Manager Buck Showalter is clearly impressed with the talent of Paxton, who will come off the disabled list to start tonight. He’s been out since early April with a strained lat muscle.
He began the season by pitching well twice against the Angels in starts on April 2 and April 8. He gave up just six hits and three runs in 12 innings in those starts.
In six career major league starts, Paxton is 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA and has given up just 21 hits in 36 innings with nine walks, 34 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.83.
Yeah, he looks pretty good on the stat sheet.
Before this season, Paxton was ranked the Mariners’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, which provided this scouting report on him:
Paxton’s fastball runs anywhere from 91-98 mph, though his velocity fluctuates because the long-limbed lefty can have trouble repeating his mechanics. His hammer curveball is a plus pitch, sitting in the low 80s at its best, but he has trouble throwing it for strikes consistently. His cutter and changeup lag behind the other two pitches. Paxton tightened his delivery considerably late in 2013, which allowed him to pitch well when he was called up to the major leagues for the first time in September.
The Orioles have played seven consecutive games decided by one run, matching the club record (also June 21-29, 1956). The Birds are 5-2 in that stretch despite batting .191 and scoring a total of 21 runs. Baltimore pitching has posted a 2.03 ERA in the seven games, including a 2.66 mark for the rotation and an ERA of 1.00 for the bullpen.
The Orioles are a major league-best 20-11 (.645) against the American League West this season and have won seven of their last eight home games against the West since June 30. The O’s are 4-1 this year against the Mariners and 14-6 against Seattle since 2012.