O's game blog: Mike Baumann faces Houston in Game 3

The Orioles look to continue their winning ways over the Astros tonight as the teams play the third game of a four-game series at Camden Yards. The O’s will also try to keep their amazing recent run of pitching going, a run that has seen their staff allow just one run the last three games.

The Orioles (79-71) have 12 games remaining in the regular season and have now won three in a row by a combined 16-1 score. After scoring just two runs in the first two games of the Detroit series, they now have 16 in these three games and they have gone 10-for-18 with runners in scoring position in those games.

The Orioles improved to 44-32 at home with Friday’s win and they are 27-15 at home since June 22.

For the third time in the five games that they have played against Houston this year, the Orioles shut out the Astros last night as right-hander Dean Kremer pitched a complete-game four-hitter on 106 pitches. He threw a combined 29 two and four-seam fastballs with 29 cutters, 27 curveballs and 21 changeups. He got 15 swings and misses. In two starts versus Houston, Kremer has allowed one run and eight hits over 16 2/3.

In his past eight starts, he is 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA and has allowed just two homers in that span over 51 innings. For the season Kremer improved to 8-5 with a 3.07 ERA.

The O’s team ERA is 0.82 in their five games with Houston, allowing four runs over 44 innings on just 20 hits. In that time O’s pitchers have walked seven and fanned 36 with a WHIP of 0.614.

O’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 0.46 versus Houston, allowing two runs and 13 hits in 39 1/3 innings.

The Orioles have allowed just one run in their four wins over Houston, which have come by scores of 2-0, 3-1, 2-0 and 6-0.

O’s catcher Adley Rutschman gave Baltimore the lead last night, hitting a solo shot in the fourth, which was No. 12 for the season. He has hit four homers his past 19 games. Rutschman added a single, RBI double and walk for a 3-for-3 night. He’s now batting .258 with an .819 OPS. That was his 32nd double, tying him with Cal Ripken Jr. for the most by an O’s rookie in a season. He tied his career-high reaching base four times and tied his hits career high with three.

Shortstop Jorge Mateo stole two bases in the win. He has 33 steals to lead the AL by one over Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena and by two over his teammate, Cedric Mullins at 31. Mateo is second in MLB in steals behind Jon Berti of Miami, who has 37.

O’s right-hander Mike Baumann (1-3, 4.29 ERA) will make tonight’s start, his second this season. In three September games, two versus Toronto, Baumann has thrown nine innings allowing 12 hits and four runs with no walks and six strikeouts.

Lefty Framber Valdez (16-5, 2.57 ERA) makes his 29th start. He is having a big year for Houston and ranks second in the AL in wins, third in innings (185.2) and ninth in WHIP (1.110).

A 2022 AL All-Star, Valdez is pitching very well recently, going 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA over his past seven starts, allowing 10 earned runs and just two homers in 50 2/3 innings in that span. Opponents have hit just .202 with an OPS of .529 in that stretch of games.

Valdez throws his fastball 53 percent at 94.0 mph average velocity. He uses his curveball 28 percent, cutter 10 percent and changeup nine percent. Houston is 19-9 in his starts, going 7-1 in the last eight.

Currently at 99 wins, the Astros can become the first club in AL history ever to reach 100 victories four times in a span of five full seasons. Houston reached 100 wins from 2017-19 and 95 wins last season. Most recently in the NL, in 2022, the Dodgers reached 100 wins for the fourth time in the last five full seasons, reaching the century mark in 2017, 2018 and 2021-22.

Houston's skipper Dusty Baker can become just the fourth manager in MLB history to win 100 games in both leagues, joining Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog and Tony LaRussa.


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