O’s game blog: O’s and Phils begin two-game series (game rained out)

The Orioles host Philadelphia tonight at Camden Yards. It’s the start of a two-game series to end a nine-game homestand. The Orioles have gone 5-2 on the homestand, winning series versus Kansas City and Tampa Bay. They’ve hit 19 homers and scored 58 runs during those seven games.

The Orioles team slash line was .232/.296/.386 in April and that has improved to .262/.317/.461 in May. After averaging 3.4 runs per game over their first 34 games, the Orioles have averaged 8.3 in the last seven contests.

The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 17-1 Sunday as they set season highs in runs and hits with 19. The Orioles scored their most runs since producing 18 on Aug. 16, 2015 versus Oakland. The 19 hits was their most since 21 last Aug. 25 at Boston. They went 9-for-17 with RISP and had eight extra-base hits.

Thumbnail image for Cashner-Throws-Orange-Sidebar.jpgRight-hander Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.84 ERA) will make his eighth start in the series opener. Cashner had a 2.50 ERA after three starts, but that is 6.41 over his past five. But he did record a quality start on Wednesday against Kansas City, allowing six hits and three runs over six innings.

Cashner allows an average of .267 versus lefty batters and .256 against right. He is 0-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five home starts. He has four quality starts and the Orioles have gone 2-6 in his eight games.

Like the Orioles, the Phillies were off Monday. They are 23-16 and in second place in the National League East, 1 ½ games behind current division leader, Atlanta.

The Phillies have won five of their last six games. They started the year 3-5, but have gone 20-11 since then. They are 7-10 in road games.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta (2-2, 4.15 ERA) will make his ninth start tonight. Two starts ago he gave up six runs in one inning versus the Nationals. But in his last start he pitched five scoreless on Wednesday against San Francisco, allowing four hits with seven strikeouts on 96 pitches.

The 25-year-old Pivetta has two quality starts and has allowed two runs or fewer five times with two scoreless starts. His fastball averages 95.4 mph. Lefties are batting .310 with an OPS of .849 against him and right-handed batters are hitting .221/.571. He was drafted in round four by the Nationals in 2013. On July 28, 2015 he was traded to Philadelphia for pitcher Jonathan Papelbon and cash.

According to STATS, LLC., the Orioles became the fourth team in Major League history with a winning percentage of .300 or below to win a game by 15-or-more runs on Sunday. The last team to do so was the Cleveland Indians, who had a record of 3-8 on April 18, 2009, when they defeated the New York Yankees, 22-4.

The Orioles will play a total of 20 games against National League opponents this season including Philadelphia (four games), Washington (six games), the New York Mets (four games), Miami (three games) and Atlanta (three games), Since interleague play began in 1997, the Orioles are 183-200. The O’s were 8-12 last season. Baltimore’s 14 interleague victories in 2016 were the most in club history. The Orioles had 12 interleague wins in 2014 and 2015.

Update: Tonight’s Orioles and Phillies game has been postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up on Thursday, July 12. The game time will be announced at a later date. And, due to more impending rain, the start time for tomorrow’s game against the Phillies has been moved from 12:35 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. ET. If they can get Wednesday’s game in Cashner and Pivetta are the scheduled starters, each just moved back one day.

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