O's game blog: Orioles have a chance for a sweep in series finale

Now that they have secured a series victory over Toronto – their first since July 5-7, 2019 – the Orioles go for a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays tonight at Oriole Park. They beat Toronto 7-4 on Monday and 6-5 last night on Rougned Odor’s two-run homer in the last of the eighth.

It is another game impacted by rain, however, and tonight's game will start in a rain delay at Oriole Park.

Tuesday's victory gave the Orioles their 25th comeback win of the year. They had trailed 5-3 after the sixth inning but got within a run on Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI double in the seventh, and moved ahead on Odor’s 11th homer, a 415-foot shot to right field off a Yimi Garcia changeup. The Orioles improved to 7-44 when trailing after seven innings, and Toronto is now 51-3 when leading after seven.

The Orioles had lost 10 and tied three series against Toronto since that last series win. Last year, Baltimore went 5-14 versus the Blue Jays and now they are 4-2.

The Orioles continue to play improved baseball against American League East teams. They are 6-2 in their last eight division games and are 14-10 in the last 24. For the year they are 22-24 in division games, going 15-10 at home.

The Orioles are 8-8 against Tampa Bay and 5-3 versus Boston for a combined record of 17-13 against the Jays, Rays and Sox.

An O's win tonight would mean they hold one of the AL's wild card playoff spots. Tampa Bay's loss today dropped the Rays to 58-52, and the Orioles would move ahead of them with a win.

Today began with the Orioles within reach of all three AL wild card spots. They trail Toronto by two games for WC-1, Seattle by one game for WC-2 pending their game this afternoon and are now tied with Tampa Bay for WC-3.

The Orioles (58-52) have won seven of their last eight games, scoring 42 runs during that run, which includes two games where they scored just one run and six where they scored six runs or more. Over longer stretches the Orioles have won 11 of 15, 23 of 31, 28 of 41 and 31 of 46 games.

Since May 1 they are 51-38 for a winning percentage of .573. A club playing at that pace for a full season would end the year with 93 wins.

The Orioles have been able to hit with Toronto in this series, scoring seven and six runs in each win, respectively, and they got an early lead each night. Coming into this series, they had been outscored in the first inning this year by 58 to 28 runs, easily their worst inning on the year. But they have outscored Toronto 5-0 in the first inning of this series.

Right-hander Dean Kremer (4-3, 3.43 ERA) makes his 12th start tonight, and the Orioles are 7-4 in the previous 11. After pitching to an ERA of 6.94 over a five-start stretch, Kremer had a better outing last Friday versus Pittsburgh, throwing 6 1/3 scoreless on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.

One difference for Kremer from last season – when his ERA was 7.55 over 13 starts – is a better home run rate. In 2021 he allowed 2.9 homers per every nine innings, with 17 homers allowed in 53 2/3. This year his homer rate is 0.9, allowing six in 57 2/3 innings.

Righty José Berríos (8-4, 5.19 ERA) gets the start for Toronto. He gave up five runs over 3 2/3 in his last game Friday at Minnesota. For the year, Berríos has allowed 130 hits in 118 innings with 29 walks and 107 strikeouts with a 1.347 WHIP.

While Berríos is 6-0 with a 3.23 ERA in 11 home starts, his record is 2-4 with an ERA of 7.50 and 1.593 WHIP in 11 starts on the road. He pitched seven innings and allowed three runs versus the Orioles on June 15 in Toronto.

In nine career starts against Baltimore, he has not lost, going 6-0 with a 3.05 ERA. He enters this game as the only pitcher in MLB history with at least nine career starts against the Orioles without taking a loss. Berríos has a first-pitch strike percentage of 68.3 this season, second-best in the AL to his teammate Kevin Gausman's 69.1 percent. Both pitchers are tied for the MLB lead in fewest average pitches to reach a two-strike count at 2.69.





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