O’s game blog: Kevin Gausman faces Cleveland

With eight losses in the last nine games, and 10 in the past 12, the Orioles will try to split their four-game series with Cleveland tonight. The Birds won Friday, but lost the last two days to the Tribe by 4-0 and 7-3 scores.

The Orioles offense continues to scuffle and is producing just 3.3 runs per game after last year’s team averaged 4.6 per game to rank eighth in the American League.

The Orioles’ current team slash line is .215/.284/.359 and they rank 15th and last in the league in each category as they do in team OPS at .643.

In three games versus Cleveland pitching, the Orioles have six runs on 14 hits and have hit .155 in this series. They have gone 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and just 1-for-3 the last two games, obviously not even creating many scoring chances.

But Manny Machado has been doing his part and more. He produced his 17th career multi-homer game on Sunday, connecting twice for solo shots off Corey Kluber. He has three multi-homer games on the season and two in the last four games.

Machado has a 10-game batting streak. He went the first seven games of the year without a homer or RBI. But, over his past 15 games, he’s batting .417 (25-for-60) with eight homers and 17 RBIs. In his past five games he was 10-for-19 with five homers and eight RBIs.

MLB home run leaders:
9 - Mike Trout (LAA)
8 - Manny Machado (BAL), Bryce Harper (WSH) and Charlie Blackmon (COL).

Today, Machado was named co-AL Player of the Week along with Oakland pitcher Sean Manaea.

As a team the Orioles have hit 23 homers so far to rank tied for eighth in the AL. They have hit 15 solo homers, seven two-run homers and one grand slam.

O’s center fielder Adam Jones recorded his sixth double of the season and his fifth in his last four games yesterday. That was his 554th extra-base hit as an Oriole, three shy of tying Boog Powell for fifth place all-time for extra-base hits in club history.

Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez slugged his sixth and seventh home runs, a solo homer leading off the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the ninth. This was his first multi-home run game of 2018 and the seventh of his career. Ramírez is hitting .385 (15-for-39) with eight runs scored, six home runs, eight RBIs, and seven walks during his last 10 games. He is batting .299 (20-for-67) in 20 career games against the Orioles.

Right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57 ERA) tonight makes his fifth start. Since allowing six runs in his season debut, Gausman is 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA his past three starts.

He has allowed a 13.50 ERA and average against of .429 in the first inning this year. He has been scored on in the first three times in four starts. His career first-inning ERA is 5.65. In three career starts versus Cleveland, he is 2-2 with a 2.53 ERA.

Right-hander Carlos Carrrasco (3-0, 2.60 ERA) makes his fifth start for the Indians. Over his last two starts he allowed three hits and one run in nine innings versus Detroit and no runs on three hits over seven against Minnesota.

Carrasco is 9-0 over his past 11 starts dating to Aug. 27, 2017. In five career games (four starts) against Baltimore he is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA.

Lowther honored: Single-A Delmarva left-hander Zac Lowther is the South Atlantic League’s Pitcher of the Week. In three starts for the year he is 2-1 with a 0.56 ERA. Over 16 innings, has allowed five hits and one run with two walks and 31 strikeouts. He’s leading the league in ERA and strikeouts.

In two starts last week, the 21-year-old Lowther went 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA, one walk and 18 strikeouts in 10 innings. He began his 2018 season with 14 2/3 scoreless innings. The Orioles made him the No. 74 overall pick in the draft last June out of Xavier.

Triple-A Norfolk outfielder DJ Stewart has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, over which he’s hit .353 (12-for-34) with a double, five RBIs  and eight runs scored.

Double-A Bowie infielder Corban Joseph, Caleb’s brother, leads the Eastern League in both hits (22) and doubles (7). Bowie hosts Richmond tonight and Mark Trumbo is back on a rehab stint with the Baysox. He is scheduled to bat third and play first base tonight.

Single-A Frederick is off today after ending a six-game losing streak Sunday. Right-hander Ofelky Peralta got the victory. He went six innings to tie his career-high, allowing two runs (one earned), just two days after his 21st birthday.

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