O's game blog: Looking for a three-game win streak as Chicago series continues

The Orioles are in search of their second three-game winning streak this season as they take the field at Chicago tonight. From May 8-10 they won three in a row, taking two in a row at home against Kansas City and the first game of a series at St. Louis.

They try to match that streak tonight in the second game of a four-game series and 10-game road trip.

The Orioles have pitched back-to-back shutouts, covering 15 innings scoreless starting with Wednesday’s six-inning, rain-shortened game in Baltimore. The Orioles have shut out their opponent in consecutive games for the first time since June 28-29, 2019, when they defeated Cleveland 13-0 in back-to-back games at Oriole Park.

The Orioles are one of nine teams (12 occurrences) with back-to-back shutout wins this season, and no team has shut out their opponent in three consecutive games in the same season since Cleveland did so from Aug. 25-27, 2017. The New York Mets had three straight shutout wins spanning two seasons from Sept. 29, 2018 to March 28, 2019.

The Orioles team record for most consecutive shutouts is five, done twice, first from Sept. 2-6, 1974, and most recently from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1, 1995, which was also their last shutout streak of at least three games. Baltimore's seven shutout wins this year are tied for third in the American League and tied for fifth in the majors, and are the team's most in their first 71 games of a season since the 1997 team also had seven. The O's had five shutouts in all of 2021.

The Orioles had gone 0-7 versus the White Sox last year and had lost eight in a row to Chicago. Thursday’s win was their first shutout against the White Sox since a 4-0 victory on May 7, 2017 at Oriole Park, and their first shutout victory against the Sox on the road since May 13, 2004, when the Orioles won 1-0.

Right-hander Austin Voth, claimed off waivers from Washington on June 7, will make his fifth O’s appearance and second start tonight. He went 2 2/3 innings in his start Sunday, throwing scoreless ball versus Tampa Bay on 41 pitches. And while his ERA is 8.39 for the year in his combined time between Washington and Baltimore, he has allowed just two runs and eight hits in six innings with the Orioles only.

The O’s offense has a real challenge on its hands tonight against right-hander Michael Kopech (2-3, 2.38 ERA). Two starts ago he exited after just 13 pitches with right knee discomfort. His last game saw him allow four runs over five innings on 75 pitches at Houston.

But Kopech has otherwise had a very strong season, allowing two earned runs or fewer in nine of 12 starts, and he's thrown scoreless ball five times, counting his short start two outings ago. Lefty batters hit just .182 against him with a .624 OPS. Right-handed batters hit .143/.432. In six home starts, he is 1-1 with a 1.57 ERA ad 0.733 WHIP.

Kopech throws his fastball 65 percent of the time at an average velocity of 95.3 mph and uses his slider 20 percent and curveball 15 percent. He ranks in the top three percent of the majors in fastball spin rate. Despite his strong numbers, the Sox are just 5-7 in his outings.

O’s catcher Adley Rutschman went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and RBI double in last night’s win. He produced a career-high three RBIs and recorded his third game with multiple extra-base hits. He is batting .326/.370/.651 (14-for-43) with eight doubles, two home runs, seven runs scored, seven RBIs, and three walks over his last 12 games. Of his 22 big league hits, 12 have gone for extra bases (nine doubles, a triple and two home runs). Rutschman is the fourth player in Orioles history with at least 12 extra-base hits in his first 27 career games, joining Trey Mancini (15), Curt Blefary (14), and Manny Machado (12).

The Orioles (32-39) have won three of four, five of seven and eight of 12 games. They are 18-15 since May 19 and are 8-6 in their past 14 road games. They are 11-9 in June with six games left in the month, so a 3-3 or better record will give them a winning month.


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