O's game blog: A chance for a series sweep at Houston

The Orioles have nine series sweeps this season and are trying for No. 10 today at Houston after posting wins of 8-7 and 9-5 at Minute Maid Park.

With last night’s win, the Orioles improved to 50-26 away from Oriole Park, the best road record in the major leagues. This is also just the third time in O’s history they have posted 50 or more road wins, topped by their 52 in 1997. The 1980 team also won 50 road games.

The Orioles (95-56) have a 2 1/2-game lead atop the American League East on the Rays (93-59) with 11 games left. They have a magic number of eight to clinch the AL East championship, and need to go 5-6 or better to win 100 games.

The Orioles are 7-1 in Houston since the 2021 season. That year they swept a three-game series in June, scoring 27 runs. Last August, they won two of three in Houston, holding the Astros to four runs in those three games.

The Astros (84-68), now leading the AL West by just a half-game over both the Rangers and Mariners, have lost four of their last five and six of eight games. They are 7-10 in their past 17 games and are now 38-39 at home on the season.

Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish (11-7, 3.12 ERA) will make his 28th start today. The Orioles are 18-9 in Bradish’s outings this year. He has gone six innings or more in six straight starts and has done that 13 times his past 14 games.

Bradish continues to be a pitcher on a good roll for the Orioles, allowing two earned runs or less 13 times in 16 starts since June 14. In that time, he is 9-5 with a 2.53 ERA and the O’s are 11-5 in those games. He has 12 quality starts in that span while allowing a .198 batting average against and .575 OPS.

Bradish ranks fourth in the AL in ERA and is third in opponent batting average (.212) and OPS (.633). Among qualified pitchers, he ranks fifth in groundball percentage (48.6), sixth in WHIP (1.087) and 21st in innings pitched (152 2/3).

He has been good on the year against both left and righty hitters. Left-handed batters hit .232 with an OPS of .655 versus Bradish and right-handers hit .218/.614.

Bradish has made two career starts versus Houston, both late last year. And against an Astros team that would go on to win the 2022 World Series, he pitched scoreless ball twice. On Aug. 26 at Minute Maid Park, he allowed two hits over eight innings with two walks and six strikeouts. On Sept. 22 in Baltimore, he threw 8 2/3 scoreless on two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

So 16 2/3 scoreless on four hits against Houston, with two walks and 16 strikeouts. The Astros hit just .075 with a .200 OPS versus Bradish in 2022.  

Right-hander Cristian Javier (9-4, 4.74 ERA) pitches for the Astros, who are 19-9 in his starts in 2023, winning five of the last seven. Lefty batters hit him much better than right-handers, batting .282 with an .849 OPS compared to .193/.656.

On Aug. 9 at Baltimore, he was the winning pitcher in an 8-2 Houston victory, allowing two runs in five innings. In five career games, he is 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA against the Orioles.

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