O's game blog: Looking for another series victory

After a night where every American League East team lost, the Orioles remain four games behind first-place Tampa Bay as they take the field tonight. It’s the rubber match game of their series with the Cincinnati Reds (42-38) after the Orioles won 10-3 Monday night and lost 3-1 Tuesday night.

The Reds had lost the last two games of their series with Atlanta before coming to Oriole Park as their 12-game win streak was snapped on Saturday. But with Tuesday’s win they have won 13 of their past 16 and 16 of 21 games. And they are now 9-1 in their past 10 road games and have won five straight road series.

The Reds, who lead the NL Central by 0.5 games over Milwaukee, started the year going 7-15. But since then they are 35-23 (.603). That is the fourth-best record in the majors in that time frame.

The O’s pitching has slowed some hot Reds bats and held them to six runs and 12 hits in this series. Cincinnati for the year ranks fifth in the NL with a .744 OPS and fifth in runs per game at 4.89. They have done even better this month, ranking third in team OPS in the NL in June at .785, scoring 5.40 runs per game.

Their sensational rookie, Elly De La Cruz, came to Baltimore with 15 hits in his last 35 at-bats (.429) and with an OPS of .989 in his first 17 MLB games. But he is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts this series and has not hit the ball out of the infield.

The Orioles (48-30) will end June with a winning record. Even with a loss last night they are 13-9 with two games left this month. Baltimore went 1-0 in March, 18-9 in April and 16-12 in May.

The Orioles are 3-2 on this nine-game homestand and 25-15 (.625) for the year at Oriole Park, which is the fourth-best home record in the majors. They are 8-3 in their last 11 home games.

Overall they have won three of their past four games, five of eight and 11 of the last 17. Over longer stretches they have won 39 of their last 62, 42 of 66, and 44 of the last 69 games.

Coming off one of his poorer outings of this year, right-hander Kyle Gibson (8-5, 4.30 ERA) will make his 17th start. With 92 innings pitched, Gibson is on a pace for 191 this year. He pitched a career-best 196 2/3 innings in 2018 and 194 2/3 in 2015. Last year he threw 167 2/3 innings. Gibson ranks 16th in the AL in innings.

Before he gave up five runs in three innings in his last start versus Seattle, Gibson went 4-1 over a 2.92 ERA in his previous six starts, allowing a .218 batting average and .610 OPS against. The Orioles are 9-7 in his 2023 starts.

His mound opponent tonight is righty Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.86 ERA), who will make his 13th start. Weaver has allowed four runs or more in eight of 12 starts this season and the Red are 7-5 in his games.

In his last two starts, against Houston and Atlanta, he allowed 10 earned runs and 17 hits in 8 1/3 innings. Over his past four games his ERA is 10.80 since June 6 with a WHIP of 2.220. Opponents hit .368 against him with an OPS of 1.044 in those quartet of games. 

Norfolk note: Norfolk pitcher, lefty reliever, Darwinzon Hernández has been suspended three games by MLB for violating the on-field behavior policy. This stems from a game where he hit two batters, believed not intentionally, but it led to the dugouts emptying last week at Nashville. Hernández is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA over 21 Tides games.

Also right-hander pitcher Kyle Brnovich, who began the 2022 season with Norfolk before undergoing Tommy John surgery last May, is back pitching in games. He threw two scoreless innings Monday in the Florida Complex League and now has had his rehab assignment transferred to Low Single-A Delmarva.

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