The Orioles have exchanged one-run wins with Boston, and both clubs are 1-1 as they wrap up this three-game series today at Fenway Park. The Orioles won 10-9 on Thursday and lost 9-8 yesterday. After the series wrap-up game, the O’s head to Texas for three games to conclude the season-opening road trip.
The Orioles have scored 18 runs on 26 hits with five homers and 10 stolen bases to start the year. Five different players have already hit home runs and five have stolen bases. Catcher Adley Rutschman is 6-for-10 and Austin Hays is 5-for-10 through two games.
Lefty Cole Irvin (9-13, 3.98 ERA in 2022 with Oakland) makes his O’s debut this afternoon. He pitched 181 innings last season, the 12th-most in the American League. He recorded a 1.160 WHIP, allowing 1.2 homers per nine innings with a 1.8 walk rate and 6.4 strikeout rate.
Irvin is an outstanding control pitcher with a career 2.0 walk rate. His 14.4 pitches per inning were the second-fewest in the AL last year, while his 1.79 BB/9 ratio ranked sixth-best among qualified AL hurlers. And his 4.9 percent walk rate ranked in the 89th percentile of MLB, per Statcast. He did that while ranking near the bottom of all MLB pitchers last season in fastball and curveball spin rate.
Irvin had an 8.40 ERA in the first inning last season when opponents produced an OPS of 1.095 against him. He went 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five April starts in 2022.
He allowed an OPS against of .818 the first time facing a batting order, .600 the second time through and .717 the third time.
His grandfather, Roy Irvin, played basketball at the University of Southern California from 1952-54. He was a member of the 1954 team that advanced to the Final Four.
The Orioles have stolen 10 bases through two games, the most by a team in its first two games since at least 1901, surpassing the previous record of nine stolen bases held by the 1976 Cincinnati Reds and the 1983 Los Angeles Dodgers. The 10 stolen bases are also the most in any two-game span in team history, surpassing the nine stolen bases from Aug. 28 (G2) to Aug. 29 (G1), 1986. Jorge Mateo (four SB), Cedric Mullins (three SB), and Adam Frazier, Hays, and Ryan McKenna (one SB) make up the 10 steals for the O's.
Mateo is the first player in O's history and eighth MLB player since at least 1901 with multiple stolen bases in each of a team's first two games to begin a season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rutschman is the first player in O's history to reach base safely in his first seven plate appearances to start a year. He began the season 6-for-6 with a home run, two runs scored, four RBIs and a walk before his streak ended with a groundout in the second inning of Saturday's game.
Right-hander Tanner Houck (5-4, 3.15 in 2022) gets the Sunday start for Boston. He pitched mostly in relief last year, throwing 60 innings with a 1.183 WHIP, a 3.3 walk rate and 8.4 K rate. He was Boston’s first-round pick (No. 24 overall) in the 2017 draft.
The Orioles have six that will bat lefty against him today. Last season, he allowed a .776 OPS versus lefty batters and just a .496 OPS against righties.
Eleven members of the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster or injured list were not with the organization during the 2022 season. Six players made their first career Opening Day roster: First baseman Triston Casas, pitchers Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort and Josh Winckowski, catcher Connor Wong and outfielder Masataka Yoshida.
Yoshida became the first position player born in Japan to play for the Red Sox on Opening Day. The only other Japanese-born position player in Red Sox history is Dave Roberts, who joined the team during the 2004 season.
Pitching matchups for Texas series:
Monday - Kyle Bradish vs. Jon Gray
Tuesday - Tyler Wells vs. Andrew Heaney
Wednesday - Kyle Gibson vs. Jacob deGrom