O's game blog: O's look to end road trip with a series sweep

After taking the first two games at Fenway Park by scores of 7-1 and a comeback win by 7-5 last night, the Orioles can sweep this series with a win tonight over the Boston Red Sox.

It's a matchup of the second- and third-place teams in the American League East. The Orioles (7-4) are in second, two games behind the New York Yankees (10-3), while Boston (7-5) is in third place, 2 1/2 games behind the division leaders.

The Orioles are the first team this year to take a series from Boston, which went 2-0-1 in three series on the West Coast to start the year. The Red Sox were 6-1 their previous seven games heading into this series.

The Orioles have not lost a series against an AL East opponent since losing two of three to the Yankees April 7-9, 2023. Baltimore has not dropped a series in the division in 15 straight sets, improving to 11-0-4 during that time. That is the longest such run in team history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Five of the Orioles' seven wins this season have been in comeback fashion. Last night they trailed 5-0 after five innings. Baltimore's 53 comeback wins since the start of last season are the most in the major leagues. Their 89 come-from-behind victories since the start of 2022 are second-most, behind the Dodgers (90).

Tonight the O's are looking for their first sweep of the season. The last series sweep by the Orioles came on Sept. 26-27, 2023 versus Washington. The last of at least three games was Sept. 4-6, 2023 at the Los Angeles Angels, and the last sweep against an AL East opponent was a three-gamer from May 19-21, 2023 at Toronto.

Last night, 20-year-old Jackson Holliday made his big league debut, going 0-for-4 with an RBI. At 20 years, 128 days, he is the youngest player to debut for the O's since Dylan Bundy (19-313) on Sept. 23, 2012 at Boston and the youngest position player since Manny Machado (20-034) on Aug. 9, 2012 against Kansas City.

He is the 28th player in team history to record an RBI in his debut; Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, Gunnar Henderson, and Cedric Mullins also did so. And Holliday became the first high school player from the 2022 MLB Draft to make the majors.

The Orioles continue to pitch well. Last night was the first time this year as a staff they gave up more than four earned runs, allowing five. Baltimore's team ERA of 2.88 after 11 games is much better than at this point last year, when it was 5.12. The O's rank fifth in both the AL and the majors in team ERA. O's starting pitchers, at 3.48, rank fifth in the AL and eighth in the bigs in starting pitcher ERA. Their bullpen ERA of 1.78 ranks fourth in the AL and the majors. The O's bullpen has an ERA of 0.92 (3 ER/29.1 IP) the past nine games. 

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (2-0, 2.19 ERA) takes the mound tonight. In his two starts he has thrown 12 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and three runs with three walks and 16 strikeouts. He has a 1.054 WHIP and the team is 2-0 in those games.

Since last July 17, in 15 regular-season starts, Rodriguez is 7-2 with a 2.53 ERA, allowing a .225 batting average and .602 OPS. He has nine quality starts in that span.

O's pitchers have the best WHIP in the majors right now:

1.00 - Baltimore
1.08 - Boston
1.12 - Pittsburgh
1.13 - Kansas City, Texas

Right-hander Garrett Whitlock (1-0, 0.96 ERA) will make his third start after allowing one run in 9 1/3 innings combined against the Mariners and Angels. Whitlock, in 11 career games versus Baltimore batters, is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA, allowing four earned runs in 24 innings with four walks and 26 strikeouts.

Boston leads the majors with a 2.08 ERA, the club’s second-lowest mark through 12 games in the Live-Ball Era (since 1920; 1st: 2.05 in 2001). Since the start of 2006, the Red Sox are the seventh team to post an ERA below 2.10 through their first 12 games.

But Boston has allowed 14 runs to the Orioles this series, including 10 earned runs for a team ERA of 5.00 this series. Earlier, Boston pitchers posted a series ERA of 1.78 versus Seattle, 1.38 against the Los Angeles Angels and 1.24 versus Oakland.

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