O's game blog: Looking for some offense in the series and homestand finale

The Orioles need a win this afternoon over the Minnesota Twins to avoid a three-game series sweep. They have not been swept in a series yet this year but have come close a few times.

On May 26-27 they lost the first two games of a home series with Texas but won 3-2 in the series finale to avoid that sweep. June 6-7 they lost two at Milwaukee, but won 6-3 in Game 3 of that series. On June 16-17 they lost two games at Wrigley Field but then beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 in the third game to avoid a sweep.

Now they have 8-1 and 1-0 losses to the Twins, a team that is 16-5 versus Baltimore since the 2019 season and is 27-8 since 2019.

The Orioles have just seven hits this series and only one for extra bases, and that is Adley Rutschman’s sixth-inning homer to right on Friday night. The Birds are 0-for-4 this series with runners in scoring position and have not scored in their last 12 innings.

The Orioles have not been swept three in a row since May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit.

The Orioles are 48-33 (.593) at the halfway point of the season, having played 81 games with 81 still to go in the regular season. They are on a 96-win pace. No O’s club has won that many games since the 2014 American League East champions went 96-66.

The Orioles have some hitters struggling at bat as the team has scored no more than two runs in six of their past 12 games. In their past four games they have scored one, seven, one and zero runs.

Ryan O’Hearn is 0-for-7 this series, 1-for-16 his last five games, and is batting .171 (6-for-35) over his past 10 games.

Aaron Hicks is 1-for-15 his past five games and 2-for-24 with nine strikeouts his last eight games.

Since returning from the injured list, outfielder Cedric Mullins is 4-for-24 with no extra-base hits over the last seven games and the Orioles are 3-4.

Adam Frazier is batting .156 (5-for-32) his last 13 games.

The Orioles have been outscored 23-9 during a four-game losing streak, which is a season high. The Orioles have not lost four in a row since June 28-July 2, 2022. Following that skid, the Orioles went on a 10-game winning streak from July 3-13, tied for the fifth-longest win streak in team history.

The 1-0 shutout Saturday, when the Orioles were held to three singles, going 3-for-30, was Baltimore’s first 1-0 loss since Sept. 11, 2022 versus Boston.

Losing pitcher Kyle Bradish gave up just one run over six innings and is 4-4 with a 3.58 ERA. He received zero runs of support for the sixth time this year. Bradish had six quality starts last year and now has seven in 2023. Bradish has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four straight starts, pitching to a 2.16 ERA in that span, and to a 2.88 ERA over his past seven games.

In addition to losing four in a row, the O’s have lost six of nine and eight of the last 13 games. They are 1-3-1 in five series over those last 13 games. And since May 26, the Orioles are 4-6-1 in 11 series, going 15-16 in 31 games.

Lefty Cole Irvin (1-3, 7.18 ERA) gets the start today for the Orioles. He appeared headed for a good outing on Monday versus Cincinnati but left that game after a long rain delay. He had given up one run over three innings on 45 pitches when the rains hit.

Since his latest return from Triple-A Norfolk on June 10, Irvin has a 4.05 ERA in four games with two walks and 14 strikeouts over 13 1/3 innings, allowing an .810 OPS in that span.

To get some runs today, the Orioles will need to get to right-hander Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.67 ERA), who ranks third in the AL in ERA. Gray has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his 16 starts on the year and has allowed no more than two earned runs 11 times.

He got off to sensational start to his year, going 4-0 with an ERA of 0.77 in April. In May he went 0-0 with a 3.91 ERA, and in June he was 0-2 with a 3.95 ERA.

Lefties bat .260 with a .682 OPS off Gray, and right-handers hit .224/.612. He is quite good when pitching with runners in scoring position, allowing a .159 average and .461 OPS.

In 12 career starts against the Orioles, Gray is 6-5 with a 4.60 ERA, a .248 average against and .715 OPS.

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