O's beat both Wheeler and Gil in impressive stretch vs. Yankees and Philly

They did it the hard way. It began last Friday where the Orioles were headed into a six-game stretch versus Philadelphia and the New York Yankees, the teams with the two best records in their respective leagues.

Where some fans might have been happy with a 3-3 split, the Orioles won both series and go 4-2 in this stretch. And yes, they did do it the hard way, losing the series-opening game each time and then winning two in a row.

They did it by bashing two of baseball’s best pitchers in 2024 in Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler and Yankees right-hander Luis Gil.

Wheeler entered his start against the Orioles Sunday – in the game that was to decide that series – at 8-3 with a 2.16 ERA. His ERA was 1.57 in his previous five starts. Then the Orioles got nine hits and eight runs off him by hitting four homers against him in 4 1/3 innings. Wheeler entered that start with a 0.62 HR rate on the year among the best in baseball. But against the Orioles he allowed a career-high in homers and tied his career high for earned runs.

Then in the game to decide the series in the Bronx, they faced Gil. He entered his start at 9-1 with a 2.03 ERA and was 8-0 with an ERA of 1.14 in his previous nine starts. He had given up 4.4 hits per every nine innings this year.

Then the Orioles went 8-for-12 against him with two doubles and a home run. They took a 7-0 lead in the second inning and Gil got just four outs. He allowed eight hits and seven runs in 1 1/3 innings. The previous high for earned runs in his 21 career MLB starts was five and he gave up seven this time.

Gil, in the nine games before yesterday: Seven runs allowed over 55 1/3 innings for a 1.14 ERA and .128 average against.

Gil yesterday: Seven runs allowed over 1 1/3 innings with a .667 average against and 47.37 ERA.

So, in two games against Wheeler and Gil the Orioles got 15 runs of those pitchers in a combined 5 2/3 innings. Their combined ERA this year against the Orioles is 23.82.

At the end of the New York series, it’s the Orioles leading MLB in run differential at +125 to +113 for the Yankees. The Orioles are ½ game out in the AL East and have one fewer loss than the Yankees.

The Yankees complained when their batters were hit by pitches. The Orioles just hit their pitchers.

"Really proud of our guys," said Ryan O'Hearn. "Not buying into too much that comes from outside noise and things like that. Just knowing that when the game starts that's all that matters. We've got a lot of hard-nose, grinder-type players that just show up and play their (butt) off and grind every at-bat. That was one thing I think we did a really good job of this series is kind of tune out the outside stuff and stayed locked in on what our job was, and that was come here and win a series."

The Orioles are 5-2 against the Yankees on the year and are 4-0-1 in their past five series against the Yankees, going 11-6 in 17 games.

The 17 runs scored was the most by an O’s team since they got 18 versus Cleveland on June 6, 2021. It was their most at Yankee Stadium since they scored 18 in 1986.

This was a pounding by an O’s team that began a grueling stretch of 30 games in 31 days back on May 31. They are now 20 games into this stretch and are 14-6 versus the Rays, Jays, Rays, Braves, Phillies and Yankees.

In the 20 games they have hit 20 homers, slugging .506 with an OPS of .841 and scoring 5.9 runs per game. Their team ERA is 2.60 in what has been a dominant stretch.

You can’t win any titles or anything at all really after just 74 games. They are not even at the halfway mark right now.

But to this point of the year, it is now fair to ask: Does baseball’s best team play at Oriole Park?

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