O's can't complete sweep, now head home for important homestand

The losses feel more damaging now for the Orioles as Birdland gets used to what it's like to follow a team in a pennant race again. The Orioles' last playoff berth was in 2016.

The Orioles did take the first two games in Toronto as they won a series there for the first time since July 5-7, 2019. They had a chance to complete a sweep in Toronto for the first time since April 2005.

But they saw their first 18 batters retired in order yesterday before Cedric Mullins led off the seventh with their first hit. But even as the Orioles lead the American League in team OPS in August at .778, they have scored just four runs in the last three losses. And they lost 6-1 in the series finale at Rogers Centre Wednesday.

The Orioles come home today to begin a seven-game homestand with a one-game makeup contest against the Chicago Cubs from a Camden Yards rainout of June 8. The Orioles are 3-0 versus the Cubs this year, outscoring them 22-6 in those games.

The Cubs are 49-67 overall, but are 14-10 since the All-Star game. They won the last two games of their series in Washington and have won five of seven and eight of their last 12. The Cubs have won four straight series.

Chicago pitching is on a bit of a roll, working to an ERA of 2.69 over the last 27 games, among the best in the majors in that span. 

Elias on the farm: MLBPipeline.com has updated its top 100 rankings and added in draft picks from the 2022 draft. And the Orioles have six players in their new top 100:

* No. 2 – Gunnar Henderson

* No. 4 – Grayson Rodriguez

* No. 14 – Jackson Holliday

* No. 43 – Colton Cowser

* No. 80 – Jordan Westburg

* No. 92 – DL Hall

Earlier the Orioles placed six in the top 100 of the updated Baseball America list. There they had Henderson (No. 1), Rodriguez (No. 4), Holliday (No. 41), Hall (No. 61), Cowser (No. 97) and Westburg (No. 98).

Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias was in Bowie this week and was interviewed by Brendan Mortensen of "MASN All-Access" and talked about having a top-rated farm system and a winning big league team.

“I think it’s very gratifying for anyone who has been involved in this project to be now at the point where we have so much in front of us," Elias said. "We have so much going for us now. We have this young, talented, winning team in the major leagues. There are a bunch of players on that team that will be with for us for the long haul, and beneath that we are sitting on the No. 1 farm system.

"And it’s not just the No. 1 farm system. We’ve got the Baseball America No. 1 prospect in the game right now in Gunnar Henderson. Grayson Rodriguez, who is hurt, is the consensus top pitching prospect, and he’ll be back soon. And then we’ve got the 2022 No. 1 overall pick, Jackson Holliday, in the Florida Complex League, and we have six or seven guys in the top 100 prospects list.

“It’s a really healthy system with a lot of those guys in the upper minors, so it’s going to be ready to help the team we see on our TV screen, basically from now until the next couple of years.”

Of Henderson, Elias said, “overall his numbers in Triple-A are very, very encouraging. He’s by far the youngest player in the whole league. We are going to do what’s right for him, first and foremost, but he’s also putting himself in a position to be in a lot of conversations about maybe helping this team down the stretch.”

Orioles lineup vs. Cubs
Gunnar Henderson preparing to make some starts at ...

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