O's game blog: Looking for a second series sweep

In today's series finale at Citizens Bank Park, the Orioles will be pitching a former Phillies farmhand and Philadelphia will be pitching a former Orioles player. Right-hander Thomas Eshelman (0-0, 3.68 ERA) starts for the O's and right-hander Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.45 ERA) starts for the Phillies.

The Orioles, who lost three one-run games in the Marlins series, have beaten the Phillies 10-9 in 10 innings and 5-4 over the past two nights. Anthony Santander, Rio Ruiz and Chance Sisco hit solo home runs Wednesday night as the O's won despite striking out 15 times and going 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

The Orioles offense so far is among the best in Major League Baseball:

* Batting - .261 (first in American League, second in MLB)
* Slugging - .465 (second in both)
* OPS - .794 (second in AL, third in MLB)

The Orioles are 6-1 on the road and the team batting line is .301/.365/.511 in those games with an OPS of .875. All of those rank first in the AL and the club's .471 batting average on an 0-0 count is first in the majors.

Hanser Alberto rates first in the league in doubles (nine), third in batting average (.342) and 12th in OPS (.916). Santander has now driven in a run in six consecutive games with nine RBIs in that span. He has 16 RBIs to lead the team, which is tied for fifth-most in the AL.

Now 9-7 with four wins in a row, the Orioles are 4-2 in six series after winning 10 series all of last year. Today they can complete their second three-game sweep of the year. If they get it, tomorrow they go for a third in the completion of the suspended game with Washington. In 2019, the Orioles were swept 13 times but never had a sweep to call their own.

eshelman-orange-in-dc-sidebar.jpgEshelman has thrown 7 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs. He made the start Saturday at Nationals Park and gave up two runs over four innings on 57 pitches. Eshelman was traded on June 9, 2019 from the Phillies to the Orioles for international bonus money. He has never faced Philadelphia. In three career interleague games, he is 0-0 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.

Arrieta was the Orioles' fifth-round draft pick out of TCU in 2007 and was selected by then scouting director Joe Jordan. For years, he was one of the organization's top prospects and ranked as high as No. 4 for the club at the end of 2009 and 2010 by Baseball America. Those same years he was a Baseball America top 100 prospect, rated No. 67 in 2009 and No. 99 a year later.

But he never achieved success with Baltimore, going 20-25 with an ERA of 5.46 in four seasons. After the trade to the Chicago Cubs, he elevated his game greatly and won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, going 22-6 with an ERA of 1.77.

He hasn't been as good with the Phillies. In 2018 and 2019, he has a combined 18-19 mark with a 4.26 ERA and 1.369 WHIP. This season, he has thrown 11 innings. In his last start on Saturday versus Atlanta, he pitched six scoreless innings on 89 pitches.

Arrieta has faced his former O's team in 2014 and 2017, both with the Cubs. He is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA, allowing eight hits and two earned runs over 13 2/3 innings against Baltimore batters.

MLB team leaders in extra-base hits:

71 - Atlanta
66 - Kansas City
65 - Orioles
64 - San Diego, Tampa Bay

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