O's game blog: O's and Rays in series and homestand finale

The Orioles have a rubber match coming up this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. The teams have split two games in the series, with the Orioles winning 8-6 in 13 innings Friday night and the Rays winning 6-1 on Saturday night.

The Orioles (16-25) are 4-1 in rubber match games this season, 3-1 at home and 2-0 when the opponent is from the American League East. They have won such games against the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals and Cardinals and lost at home versus Milwaukee.

The O’s have now lost four of six games on the homestand that ends today. Over longer stretches, they have lost seven of nine and eight of their past 11 games. The O’s had scored 17 runs Thursday and Friday in posting back-to-back walk-off wins, but were held to just one run and six hits last night in the second game of the series.

O’s pitching has allowed 32 runs and 10 homers during this homestand, and 18 runs over the past three games. O’s starters have pitched to a 6.40 ERA over the last 11 games. But the Baltimore bullpen, which has a 3.22 ERA of for the year to rank fourth-best in the AL, has pitched to an ERA of 2.05 over the last 17 games.

Catcher Adley Rutschman made his big league debut Saturday as the starting catcher, batting sixth. He finished the night 1-for-3 with a triple, a walk and a strikeout. Rutschman tripled in the seventh inning for his first career hit, becoming the ninth Oriole to triple in his first career hit, and the first since Ryan McKenna on April 11, 2021 against Boston. Rutschman is the first Orioles catcher to do so since Matt Wieters on May 30, 2009 against Detroit.

Rutschman was selected by the Orioles with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Oregon State University, becoming the second No. 1 overall pick in team history, along with Ben McDonald in 1989, and the first catcher taken at No. 1 since Minnesota picked Joe Mauer in 2001.

Rutschman and McDonald debuted 11,945 days apart. McDonald made his major league debut on Sept. 6, 1989 versus Cleveland at 21 years, 286 days old.

First baseman Trey Mancini went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI last night. It was his 14th multi-hit game, and he had entered Saturday ranked tied for eighth in the majors and tied for fourth in the AL in multi-hit games. He has now reached base safely in a season-long 15 straight games and entered the game with the fourth-longest active on-base streak in the AL.

The Orioles have turned 51 double plays this year, the most in the majors. Baltimore has recorded 29 double plays this month, tops in Major League Baseball. Bruce Zimmermann has induced groundball double plays nine times, tied for the most in the majors, while Jordan Lyles ranks tied for fourth with seven opponents grounding into double plays. Jorge Mateo has turned 32 double plays, the most among big league shortstops, while Rougned Odor has turned 20, fifth among second basemen.

O’s right-hander Spenser Watkins (0-1, 5.10 ERA) will make his eighth start today. For the season, he has thrown 30 innings, allowing 33 hits with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts. He has allowed 1.600 WHIP and recorded a 4.5 walk rate and 4.2 strikeout rate.

The Orioles are 3-4 in his starts. In April he pitched to a 2.55 ERA. But in three games in May, Watkins is 0-1 with an ERA of 8.76, allowing 12 runs in 12 1/3 innings with a batting average against of .365 and OPS of 1.151.

Right-hander Corey Kluber (1-2, 4.29 ERA) will make his eighth start for the Rays. Two starts ago, he allowed eight runs in three innings against the Los Angeles Angels. But in his most recent game, he gave up two runs over six frames Monday against Detroit. He pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings on April 10 versus the Orioles.  

Elias explains Rutschman promotion and more
Rutschman batting fifth today (plus notes)

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