The Orioles battled the weather and the Blue Jays in Game 1 of this series on Monday night. Toronto won the game, which was called in the eighth, by a 5-1 score to take the series opener. The scheduled second game of this series was rained out yesterday.
So the clubs will complete the 2022 regular season today with a straight doubleheader at Oriole Park. The Birds head into the offseason after the games while the Jays begin play in the American League playoffs at home Friday in the best-of-three Wild Card Series.
The Orioles (82-78) have clinched a winning season and could finish with 84 victories with two more wins. But Monday’s loss was their fifth in the last seven games and they have lost seven of 10, 11 of 18 and 17 of the last 28 games. They are 14-17 since Sept. 1.
The Baltimore offense has scored three runs or less for six consecutive games since they scored 14 runs followed by nine runs in the first two games of their recent series in Boston. In those six games, they have scored just 10 total runs on 34 hits, going 2-for-37 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles have not homered in the last four games and have hit just two in the past six games.
Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo stole his 35th base of the season Monday night. He became the sixth Orioles player (eighth occurrence) since 2000 to record 35 steals in a single season and first since Jonathan Villar swiped 40 in 2019. Mateo leads the AL in steals by one over teammate Cedric Mullins, by three over Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena and by five over Bobby Witt Jr. of Kansas City.
No other major league team has multiple players with 25 or more steals this season. O's teammates have never finished first and second in the league in stolen bases and it has not happened in a full major league season since 1992 when Montreal's Marquis Grissom (78) and Delino DeShields (46) led the National League. It has not happened in the AL since 1971 with Kansas City's Amos Otis (52) and Freddie Patek (49) doing so.
The last Oriole to lead the league in steals was Brian Roberts when he stole 50 bases in the 2007 to tie Carl Crawford for first. The only Oriole to ever solely lead the AL in stolen bases was Luis Aparicio with 40 in 1963 and 57 in 1964.
Catcher Adley Rutschman (1-for-1, 2 walks on Monday) drew at least two walks for the 13th time this season; no other Oriole has more than seven such games in 2022. Rutschman has reached base safely in eight of his last nine plate appearances since Oct. 1 with a single, two doubles and five walks.
Rutschman leads the Orioles in fWAR (5.3), doubles (35), and walks (65), ranks third in runs scored (70), fifth in extra-base hits (49), and sixth in total bases (177). Among O's batters with at least 400 plate appearances, he leads the team in on-base percentage (.365) and OPS (.814) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.449).
The Orioles have gone 8-9 versus the Blue Jays this year and would need to sweep today to win the season series with Toronto for the first time since going 12-7 in 2017.
The Orioles have gone 33-41 (.446) against AL East foes this year, their most wins and best winning percentage against the division since going 37-39 (.487) in 2017. They have dropped the season series to the Red Sox (9-10), Yankees (7-12) and Rays (9-10).
The Orioles are 44-35 (.557) at home, tied for the sixth-best home winning percentage in the AL and 12th-best in the majors. And this is their most wins and best winning percentage at home since they went 46-35 (.568) in 2017.
Note from Steve: There will be just one game blog today for the twinbill and this is it. So stay here for in-game and between-game comments for both games today.