Beginning today leading the AL East by 1.5 games over Tampa Bay with a record of 95-59, the Orioles have eight games remaining in the 2023 regular season and two in the series at Cleveland.
They started their road trip with a series win at Houston but have lost 5-2 and 9-8 in Cleveland. After Aaron Hicks' two-out, two-run double gave Baltimore an 8-7 lead in the top of the ninth Friday night, the Guardians produced a walkoff win in the last of the inning on David Fry's two-run double. He hit a first-pitch two-seamer off Yennier Cano with an exit velocity of 100.2 mph to win the game.
The Orioles have followed a four-game win streak with a three-game losing streak and have lost seven of their last 11 games. So, since Sept. 12, they are 4-7 while Tampa Bay is 5-5. The Rays have gone from three games back to 1 1/2 out.
The O's magic number to clinch the AL East is six as Saturday begins.
The Orioles have lost just three times this year in 36 games when scoring eight or more runs and Cleveland has beaten them twice in such instances.
The Orioles are now 50-29 on the road and can tie a club record for road wins if they win the final two games of this series.
O's starting pitchers have just three quality starts in the last 14 games after producing 14 in the previous 23 games. The bullpen ERA is 6.16 the last eight games.
The O's have won four of their last seven games, 12 of 20, 14 of 24, 18 of 29, 21 of 33, 24 of 38, and 29 of 46. The Birds have won or split their last nine series, 10 of 13 series, and 13 of 17 series, not including the current four-game set at Cleveland.
At 95-59 (.617), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB. They are 47-26 (.635) since the start of July, the best record in the AL and the second-best mark in MLB during that time, behind only the Dodgers (.667, 48-24). The team is 157-108 (.592) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time.
Gunnar Henderson leads MLB rookies with 6.1 bWAR, 27 home runs, and 64 extra-base hits, is tied for the lead among MLB rookies with nine triples, and leads AL rookies with 4.7 fWAR, 97 runs, 81 RBI, and 266 total bases.
Henderson leads the team with 97 runs scored this season, the most in a rookie season in club history; only three previous rookies have led the O's in runs - Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982, 90), Willie Tasby (1959, 69), and Tito Francona (1956, 62).
He's the third rookie in O's history to record 25+ doubles and 25+ home runs, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982) and Eddie Murray (1977), who both won AL Rookie of the Year.
On the mound tonight will be lefty John Means (0-1, 3.60 ERA) for the Orioles and right-hander Cal Quantrill (3-6, 5.26 ERA) for Cleveland.