O's game blog: Birds look to even the series against Seattle

SEATTLE – After Friday’s 9-2 loss in the series and road trip opener, the Orioles have lost three of four games, allowing 28 runs. Seattle hit three homers in opening a 7-1 lead after four innings and posted an eighth straight win.

The O’s (71-45) will try to even this series and slow the hot Mariners in Game 2 of this three-game set tonight at T-Mobile Park.

It’s a big night for the Mariners, who are inducting right-hander Félix Hernández into their team Hall of Fame. He is one of five pitchers with 2,500+ strikeouts and 2,500+ innings with the same team. He joins Hall of Famers Walter Johnson (Washington), Bob Gibson (St. Louis), Bob Feller (Cleveland) and likely future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers).

Friday’s O’s starter Kyle Gibson allowed a career-high nine runs in 5 1/3 innings in the series opener. He had allowed five or six runs in just four of his 2023 starts before the Mariners hit him hard last night. In two starts against Seattle this year, he has allowed 14 runs in 8 1/3 innings.

The Orioles are now 25-13 in series-opening games and 14-5 in road series openers.

Seattle catcher Cal Raleigh hit his 20th home run on a two-run shot in the first inning, which leads Seattle hitters. Raleigh joins Mike Zunino as the only other catcher in franchise history to record back-to-back 20-home run seasons. And he has now hit homers in back-to-back games for just the second time in his career. At 112.6 mph, Raleigh’s home run in the first inning was also his hardest hit home run at T-Mobile Park this season.

Tonight the O’s face another real solid starting pitcher in right-hander George Kirby (10-8, 3.32 ERA). He has walked just 14 batters in 135 2/3 innings and ranks first in the American League in walks per nine innings at 0.9. He ranks first in strikeout/walk ratio at 8.86. He is ninth in the league in ERA, 11th in groundball percentage (45.1) and tied for second with 16 quality starts.

In two years with Seattle, he is 18-13 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.125 WHIP.

Lefty Cole Irvin (1-3, 5.44 ERA) re-enters the Baltimore rotation tonight as the Orioles move, at least temporarily, to a six-man rotation.

In his last game last Sunday, Irvin pitched a scoreless inning on 12 pitches against the New York Mets. His last start was against Minnesota on July 7, when he gave up one run and three hits over 6 1/3 innings on 84 pitches.

Since he returned from the minor leagues June 10, Irvin is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 games and five starts. In the five starts only in that time, he is 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He has given up a .247 batting average and .694 OPS in that stretch with 1.5 walks per nine and 6.5 strikeouts. 

He has not faced the Mariners this year, but is 0-6 with an ERA of 8.42 and 2.065 WHIP in six career starts versus Seattle. 

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