Having secured yet another series-opening win – the Orioles are now 9-0 in such games, 5-0 on the road – on Thursday night at Detroit, the Orioles play a split doubleheader today against the Tigers at Comerica Park after getting rained out on Friday night. It will be the Orioles’ first twinbill of the 2023 season.
The Orioles trailed 3-0 in the series opener heading to the fifth inning and scored twice on a Joey Ortiz ground single into right field to pull within 3-2. Then, down 4-2 when they batted in the seventh, the Orioles scored five runs to take the lead and went on to a 7-4 win. Ortiz had a sac fly in that rally and Cedric Mullins’ tripled to right for a 4-4 tie. After Adley Rutschman’s sac fly gave the O’s a 5-4 lead, Anthony Santander blasted a 414-foot homer to left-center for the 7-4 lead.
The Baltimore offense has now produced seven runs or more in eight of 25 games and the team is scoring 5.28 runs per game for the year. The Orioles have recorded double-digit hits 11 times. As a club, they are batting .266 with a .793 OPS off lefties and batting .247/.734 versus right-handed pitching.
With Thursday’s win, the Orioles improved to 4-0 against Detroit after losing the season series in the last five years the teams have played.
With two more wins in the remaining three games in this series, the Orioles will have another series victory. The Orioles have won five straight series against Oakland, the Chicago White Sox, Washington, Detroit and Boston. According to STATS, the Orioles are trying to become the first team this season to win six straight series. Baltimore has won six straight series just twice this century, once from August to September last season and once from July to August in 2014.
In Game 1 for the Orioles, right-hander Dean Kremer (2-0, 6.20 ERA) will make his sixth start. His ERA was 9.49 after his first three before he pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings on April 18 at Washington. But he then allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 on Monday night at home against Boston. He allowed four runs the first three innings and nothing after that, and hopes to take a bit of momentum into this start.
Kremer has given up the longball much more often this year, posting a 2.6 homer rate compared to 0.8 last season. Last year he yielded two homers in a game just twice in 21 starts, and he has already done that three times in five starts this season. Also, his numbers against lefty batters are worse, as he's given up a .333 batting average and .977 OPS. Last season those numbers were .271/.713.
Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (0-0, 5.12 ERA) will make his fifth big league start in the nightcap. He is coming off five scoreless innings on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts last Sunday at Oriole Park against Detroit. He threw 92 pitches.
For the year, Rodriguez has allowed 21 hits in 19 1/3 innings with 10 walks and 25 strikeouts to go with 1.603 WHIP. Opponents are batting .273 with an OPS of .733 against him. The Orioles are 3-1 in his starts.
Rodriguez ranks third on the team and first among starters with an 11.6 strikeout rate per nine innings. He is behind closer Félix Bautista at 16.2 and Bryan Baker at 12.0. He ranks in the top 22 percent in the majors in K percentage, per Statcast. He ranks in the top 30 percent in chase rate and top 19 percent in fastball velocity with an average of 96.5 mph.
Detroit’s Game 1 starter is lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 2.32 ERA), who allowed just one hit in seven scoreless versus the Orioles on Sunday. He retired the first 20 batters in that game before Ryan Mountcastle broke up the perfect-game bid with a two-out single in the seventh. But in 24 career games versus the Orioles, he is 13-5 with a 2.79 ERA and .615 OPS against. Rodriguez has allowed one run in 21 innings his past three starts for an ERA of 0.43.
In the second game, lefty Matthew Boyd (1-1, 4.26 ERA) gets the start. The Tigers are 3-1 in his four starts this year and he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in a game three times. Monday at Milwaukee he gave up two runs over five innings on 87 pitches.
The Orioles (17-8) have won nine of their past 10 games, 11 of 13 and 13 of the last 16, and they are 8-4 in road games with four consecutive road wins.
Detroit (9-15) is just 1-12 against the AL East and has been outscored 75-28 in those games, scoring three runs or fewer 11 times. The Tigers are 8-3 versus teams outside the AL East.
Thursday's win at Detroit marked Baltimore's ninth comeback victory of the season, tied with Boston for the most in the majors.
There will be one game blog for both games today and this is it. So stay here to post any Game 1 comments, between games comments and comments for Game 2 later tonight.