O's game blog: Jordan Lyles faces Toronto in series opener

Now two games out of both the second and third American League wild card spots, and four games behind the No. 1 spot held by Toronto, the Orioles begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays tonight at Camden Yards.

It’s a big series between two teams that did not play once during the season’s first 61 games, and then split four games in mid-June at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Orioles lost 11-1 in the series opener, won the second game 6-5, lost 7-6 in 10 and then blasted former Oriole Kevin Gausman 10-2 in the fourth game of that series. Gausman allowed seven runs (five earned) over 2 1/3 innings.

The Orioles (56-52) and Blue Jays (60-48) will play six times in the next 10 games and 15 in the last 54 of the O’s regular season. They will meet nine times in the last 28 games starting Sept. 5.

The Orioles have not had a lot of success in recent seasons against Toronto. They are 17-35 since the 2019 season and Toronto is unbeaten in its last 13 series versus Baltimore. When the O’s went 2-2 in Canada last month it was their first series win or split of three games or more against that team since Aug. 1-4, 2019.

The Orioles are 6-6-1 in series this season against the AL East after going 3-19-2 last year. They are 20-24 versus AL East teams and 13-10 at home against the division. The Orioles are 4-2 their last six division games this season and 8-6 in the last 14.

And while they have gone 5-11 this year versus the Yankees, they have a winning record of 15-13 against the rest of the division, going 5-3 against Boston, 8-8 versus Tampa Bay and 2-2 against Toronto.

Toronto has lost three of five games and beat Minnesota Sunday to take one of three in that series. But over longer stretches, Toronto has won 13 of 18 and 15 of 21 games. Toronto is 20-19 in AL East games, going 9-5 over its past 14. The Blue Jays are 10-5 in the second half and 26-27 on the road.

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled yesterday to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 18 games, which is also the longest active streak in MLB and now tied for the longest streak in the AL this season (Steven Kwan/J.D. Martinez). He is batting .411 (29-for-73) with eight doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and 16 runs scored over this stretch (1.113 OPS).

Guerrero went 9-for-17 (.529) with a double, a pair of homers and five RBIs in the four-game series back in Toronto. He has hit .352 (70-for-199) with 12 doubles, 18 home runs and 46 RBIs in his 49 career games against the Orioles with an OPS of 1.082.

Right-hander Jordan Lyles (8-8, 4.40 ERA) will battle this tough lineup tonight, making his 23rd start. Lyles gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday at Texas, and is 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA over his last seven starts. Lyles is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in nine home starts, allowing one homer over 53 2/3 innings.

For the year, Lyles has thrown 2,122 pitches, which ranks as third-most in the AL and sixth-most in MLB. Since June 26, his 801 pitches lead the majors.

Lefty Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 4.86 ERA) starts for Toronto. He is 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.915 WHIP in his nine road starts. Lefties bat just .170 with a .577 OPS against him but right-handers hit .256/.876.

O's shorstop Jorge Mateo has homered three times in his last five games, his most home runs in any five-game span in his career. He currently has 11 home runs and 26 stolen bases, and is the only player in MLB this season with at least 10 homers and 25 stolen bases. In 21 games since July 10, he is slashing .315/.351/.671 (23-for-73) with five doubles, three triples, five home runs, 15 runs scored, 12 RBIs and five stolen bases.

Adley Rutschman has an OBP of .485 since July 6, which is second-best in the majors in that span to Juan Soto (Washington/San Diego) at .496.

The O's record since June 11 is third-best in MLB:

.760 - Los Angeles Dodgers (38-12)

.654 - Houston (34-18)

.653 - Orioles (32-17)


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