O's game blog: Looking for a series win over Toronto

After winning 7-4 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, the Orioles now have two chances to achieve something they have not since 2019. That is, a win a series against Toronto.

The Orioles (57-52) split a four-game series 2-2 at Toronto in June, but they have not won a series versus the Blue Jays since taking two of three at Toronto July 5-7. 2019. Since then, through the earlier series at Rogers Centre, the Orioles have lost 10 and tied three series against Toronto. So the Blue Jays are 10-0-3 the last 13 series. The Orioles went 12-31 over those 13 series.

But their win last night gives them a 3-2 record over Toronto this season, after going 5-14 versus the Blue Jays in 2021. The Orioles are 21-24 against the American League East, winning five of their last seven, nine of 15 and 13 of their past 23 division games this year.

The Orioles got closer to a playoff spot when Seattle lost to the Yankees Monday. The Birds begin play tonight one game behind Seattle for the third AL wild card, 1.5 games back of Tampa Bay for wild card two and three games back of Toronto, which holds AL wild card one right now.

The Orioles are 50-38 since May 1, a winning percentage of .568. Over a full year that percentage would produce 92 wins.      

The Orioles have won six of seven, 10 of 14, 22 of 30 and 30 of their past 45 games. They are 15-4 the last 19 games at home and 32-21 at home for the season, which is the fifth-best home win total in the American League.

Last night, Baltimore hit four home runs in a game for the first time since June 27 at Seattle (5) and for the first time at Oriole Park since June 7 against the Chicago Cubs (5). They are 5-0 this year when hitting four or more homers.

Ryan Mountcastle homered for the first time since July 3 at Minnesota, while Austin Hays went deep for the first time since July 17 at Tampa Bay. Mountcastle's homerless drought marked the longest of his career, both in terms of games (26) and at-bats (102). Anthony Santander has matched his career high with 20 home runs this season (2019); he is one of 28 major league players with 20 or more homers. Ramón Urías' home run was his second career hit (first extra-base hit) in the first inning; he entered the game 1-for-27 in the opening inning in his career.

The O’s Terrin Vavra has reached base safely in 10 of his last 17 plate appearances since walking in the ninth inning on Aug. 1 at Texas. He reached safely in seven straight plate appearances from Aug. 1-5, becoming the first Orioles rookie to do so since Jerry Hairston Jr. also reached base safely in seven straight plate appearances, from Sept. 6-8, 1999, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Vavra has reached safely in 12 of his 25 plate appearances to begin his career, and 12 of his last 22 since drawing a pinch-hit walk on July 31 at Cincinnati.

The Baltimore bullpen owns a 3.09 ERA in 109 games, the third-lowest bullpen ERA in the majors. Their 440 innings pitched rank second in the AL and third in the majors. Last year, O's relievers finished the season with a 5.68 ERA, the worst in Major League Baseball.

On the mound tonight for the Orioles is right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-4, 6.55 ERA), making his 13th start. The Orioles are 7-5 in his outings. Since coming off the injured list he allowed three runs in 10 innings against the Reds and Rangers. In seven home starts, he is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.830 WHIP.

Right-hander Alek Manoah (12-5, 2.45 ERA) starts for Toronto. In his only start this year versus the Orioles he threw six scoreless innings on one hit June 13 at Rogers Centre. In four career starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA. He has 17 quality starts this season, while the entire O’s staff has 25.

Manoah is tied for second in the AL in wins, third in innings (132), fourth in ERA and WHIP (0.992)

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