O's game blog: Matt Harvey faces Mets at Citi Field

After they allowed two runs in the last of the ninth last night and lost 3-2 to the New York Mets, the Orioles will try to bounce back today. They play the Mets at Citi Field, looking for a win to split the two-game series.

New York came to bat in the last of the eighth trailing the Orioles 2-0, but scored once in the eighth and twice in the ninth off César Valdez to come back and win. The first-place Mets improved to 17-13 and have won six in a row, allowing only 13 runs in those games.

The Mets produced a walk-off win for the fourth time this season, tied with Oakland for the most in the majors. Their six-game win streak is their longest since winning eight in a row from Aug. 3-10, 2019. They are a season-high four games above .500 and improved to 8-5 in one-run games with the team's sixth comeback win.

The Orioles fell to 16-20 overall with their fourth loss in five games. They are now 11-7 on the road and 5-2 in road series-opening games. Baltimore is 4-5 in one-run games. The Orioles have a plus-15 run differential on the road and a minus-29 run differential at Oriole Park. Tuesday's defeat was their second walk-off loss of the 2021 season.

Thumbnail image for Mancini-Homers-Gray-sidebar.jpgTrey Mancini leads the Orioles with seven home runs and 29 RBIs and has also recorded the second-most hits on the team (34). Mancini's RBIs are tied for the third-most in the majors and the American League. Outfielder Cedric Mullins leads the O's with 44 hits, the second-most in the majors. Mancini is batting a team-best .378 (17-for-45) with runners in scoring position, the only Oriole batting over .300 with RISP.

Left-hander John Means threw six scoreless innings and extended his career-best scoreless streak to 15 innings before being lifted in favor of a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the seventh. He has thrown back-to-back scoreless starts for the first time in his career and lowered his ERA on the year to 1.21.

Means has recorded five consecutive quality starts with an ERA of 0.76 during that span. He has allowed one run or less in 10 of his last 12 starts dating to late last season. He is 6-1 with an ERA of 1.31 during this stretch, where he has walked 13 and fanned 83 in 75 2/3 innings.

Orioles starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or less in nine of their last 12 games, pitching to an ERA of 3.09 over this span.

Right-hander Matt Harvey (3-2, 3.60 ERA) will make his eighth start today and face his former New York Mets teammates. He went 34-37 with an ERA of 3.66 for the Mets between 2012 and 2018. He was fourth in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013.

Over his last three starts - against the Yankees, Athletics and Red Sox - Harvey is 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA. The Orioles are 4-3 in his starts and are 3-1 over his past four. Harvey is 2-0 with a 4.11 ERA on the road.

In the first four innings of his starts, Harvey has an ERA of 1.29. In innings five and six of his starts, that ERA goes up to 12.86.

Right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-1, 2.38 ERA) will get the start for the Mets. For the season, he has allowed just 20 hits and only one home run in 34 innings. His WHIP is 1.029 and he allowed just 5.3 hits per nine with 4.0 walks and 9.3 strikeouts.

Walker is coming off an outstanding start Thursday when he gave up one unearned run and one hit over seven innings versus the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets are 5-1 in his starts and he has allowed two earned runs or less five times.

Valdez took the loss last night. Manager Brandon Hyde said durng his pregame Zoom today that he felt Valdez did not give up much hard contact in the last of the ninth. I asked him if Valdez can lose some command and effectiveness on his changeup when he pitches in back-to-back games.

"I just think he had an unlucky inning last night," Hyde said. "I think he possibly had a couple of changeups elevated last night, but he doesn't get many balls hit on the barrel. And I think as teams see him more, I think there is a chance of that. But he'd never faced the New York Mets.

"I think you saw him throw more sliders and fastballs against the Red Sox the other day. So they are not just sitting on his changeup. I think as teams see him more, he might have to pitch a little bit differently, but that changeup is a plus pitch. If he keeps it down, it is going to be really tough to barrel and people haven't hit him very hard. So when you are a pitch-to-contact guy and kind of a groundball guy, sometimes balls get through. For me, that is what happened last night."

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