O's game blog: Game 162 to wrap up the 2019 season

The Orioles have had five chances this year to win the final game of a series to sweep that series, and they are 0-5 in those games. Today, on the final day of the 2019 season, they get one last chance for a series sweep. They beat Boston 4-1 Friday night and 9-4 yesterday, and look for the three-game sweep this afternoon at Fenway Park.

Once this year the Orioles won the opener of a two-game series but lost the second game. That happened Aug. 28 at Washington. They won the first two games and lost the third game of a series April 3 at Toronto, June 30 against Cleveland and July 7 at Toronto. On July 28 at Anaheim, they were looking for a four-game road sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, but they lost 5-4.

So while they have been swept 13 times this year, they do not have a sweep to call their own.

Heading into Game 162, the Orioles (54-107) have won three of four and five of their past eight games. They are 8-9 over the last 17 games. The Orioles are 29-51 on the road, 24-51 versus the American League East and 9-17 this month.

The current Orioles have the same record as the 1988 club, which finished 54-107 and did not play 162 games. A loss today would leave the 2019 Orioles with the second-most losses in club history, behind only last year's club, which lost 115.

Shepherd-Delivers-Gray-sidebar.jpgOn the mound today, right-hander Chandler Shepherd (0-0, 7.71 ERA) will make his fifth appearance and third start. In his last game Monday at Toronto he gave up six hits and six runs over three innings in a no-decision. Randal Grichuk hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Shepherd allowed solo home runs in the third to Brandon Drury and Jonathan Davis.

One-time O's farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez (19-6, 3.80 ERA) takes the mound for Boston today in search of his 20th win. The 26-year-old Rodriguez got win No. 19 on Tuesday, 12-10 at Texas, despite allowing seven runs in five innings.

But over his last eight starts, he is 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA, allowing only two homers in 50 innings. In 15 second-half starts, the lefty is 10-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Boston is 25-8 in his starts in 2019, winning seven of the last eight.

Prior to Rodriguez, the last Red Sox left-hander to win 19 or more games in a season was Jon Lester (19 in 2010). Only five lefties have won 20-plus games for the Red Sox: Mel Parnell (1949, '53), Lefty Grove (1935), Babe Ruth (1916, '17), Ray Collins (1914), and Jesse Tannehill (1904, '05).

The Orioles signed Rodriguez for $175,000 out of Valenica,Venezuela in January 2010. On their watch he became a Baseball America top 100 prospect and was ranked No. 65 at the end of the 2013 season. On July 31, 2014, he was traded to Boston for reliever Andrew Miller. At the end of 2014, Rodriguez was rated No. 59 by Baseball America.

This season, he is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.714 WHIP against the Orioles. In 18 career games, he is 9-5 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.129 WHIP.

So, welcome to the 162nd game blog of this year. We've had perfect attendance yet again. The readers and your contributions on the in-game blogs this year have been fantastic. Thanks to you, we have intelligent baseball talk here from passionate fans. I thank all of you for being here this year. And I remind you that we have morning blogs pretty much every day of the offseason until next opening day. So come here often this offseason, Birdland!

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