O's game blog: Looking to keep it going at the Trop

After a satisfying win in the series-opener on Friday night - they hit well with three more homers and pitched well, allowing just two earned runs - the Orioles look for another win this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the latest solid outing for Baltimore pitchers, lefty Cole Irvin allowed two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on 85 pitches. He is now 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA. Irvin now has enough innings to qualify for the American League leaders, and he ranks 10th in the AL in ERA while teammate Corbin Burnes is fifth at 2.26.

To qualify, a pitcher needs one inning per team game, so with the O's having played 62 games, Irvin just makes it today with 62 2/3.

The Orioles' team ERA is now 3.27, second-best in the American League and fourth-best in the majors.

The O's are really on a pitching roll over the past 35 games, with a team ERA of 2.80 that is third in the majors in that span behind the Yankees (2.51) and Phillies (2.55). The O's are 23-12 in this stretch of games.

Over the last 22 games, O's starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer 17 times with an ERA of 2.91. They have nine quality starts in this stretch. Baltimore's 26 quality starts for the season rank sixth in the AL. The rotation ERA on the year of 3.17 is second in the league and third in the majors.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore bullpen has not allowed an earned run in eight of the past nine games. That produces an ERA of 0.63 in this stretch. For the year, the O's 3.42 bullpen ERA is fourth in the AL and seventh-best in the majors. 

In Friday's win, Anthony Santander hit a solo homer and Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg added two-run shots. The O's are on a homer barrage that has seen them hit 19 the last seven games and 53 the past 32 games.

Gunnar Henderson leads the club with 19, a mark that is tied for second in the AL. Santander's 13 home runs has him tied for eighth. Adley Rutschman's 12 are tied for 12th. Mountcastle's 11 homers are tied for 17th, and with 10, Westburg is tied for 24th in the AL.

The O's lead the majors in home runs:

98 - Baltimore
93 - New York Yankees
82 - Houston, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Orioles lead the majors in runs per game at 5.11. They also lead the bigs in team slugging percentage at .447. Baltimore's 216 extra-base hits are tied for first in the majors. The .755 team OPS put the Orioles second in the AL and third in the majors.

MLB team leaders in run differential:

Plus-117: Yankees
Plus-104: Phillies
Plus-89: Orioles

At 40-22 (.645), the Orioles have won 11 of their past 15 games. They are 14-6 versus AL East teams. They need one more win this series to guarantee no worse than a four-game split. That would extend Baltimore's streak of not having lost a series to a division foe to 21 straight series. 

During the O's current 11-4 stretch, the offense has produced 88 runs for an average in this span of 5.86 per game.

The Orioles went 8-5 against the Rays last year and are 3-1 this season. They have won 11 of the last 16 games between the teams and are 20-13 against Tampa Bay in the last 33 games.

Right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-0, 3.18 ERA) is back on the mound today for the Orioles. He last pitched last Saturday at home versus this Rays team and gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings as his ERA jumped up from 1.75 in his sixth start. He is pitching on extra rest today.

Bradish has allowed 23 hits in 28 1/3 innings for the season, allowing two earned runs or fewer his first five games before last weekend. The Orioles are 5-1 in his starts. In three road games, he is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 0.882 WHIP.

Bradish went 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA of in three games last season against Tampa Bay. In six career games, he is 1-3 with a 7.12 ERA and 1.615 WHIP.

Right-hander Taj Bradley (1-3, 5.81 ERA) got smoked by the Orioles last Saturday, allowing nine hits and nine runs over 3 1/3 innings. The O's hit four homers off him and went 9-for-18.

He suffered a right pectoral strain in March and the start of his year was delayed until May 10. In five games he has allowed 24 hits over 26 1/3 innings, recording nine walks, 32 strikeouts and 1.253 WHIP.

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