O's game blog: The final series begins

The Orioles have just three games and one series remaining in the 2022 season. Tonight at cloudy and chilly Camden Yards, they host Toronto to start a season-ending three-game series.

The Orioles (82-77) bring a bit of momentum home with them after taking two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. They won 3-1 Sunday, and win No. 82 clinched their first winning record since 2016.

The O's went 3-4 on the final road trip to Boston and New York and ended the year going 38-43 (.469) in road games. That is their best road record since going 39-42 (.481) in 2016.

The Orioles are 44-34 (.564) at home, tied for the sixth-best home winning percentage in the American League and 11th-best in the majors. This marks their most wins and best winning percentage at home since they went 46-35 (.568) in 2017.

The Orioles scored just five runs in the series at New York, and were shut out on Saturday. They have scored just nine runs their last five games, going 2-for-36 with runners in scoring position in that span. They have scored three or fewer in 16 of the last 27 games, going 4-12 in those contests.

The Orioles have gone 33-40 (.452) against AL East foes this year, their most wins and best winning percentage against the division since going 37-39 (.487) in 2017. They have dropped the season series to the Boston Red Sox (9-10), New York Yankees (7-12) and Tampa Bay Rays (9-10), but have gone 8-8 against the Blue Jays and need two wins in the final three games to clinch their first season series victory over Toronto since 2017, when they went 12-7.

Toronto (90-69) holds the top AL wild card spot heading into play today. They can clinch that spot and host that opening best-of-three series with both a win tonight and a Seattle loss.

Toronto has won six of its last eight and just swept three from Boston by scores of 9-0, 10-0 and 6-3. The Blue Jays went 16-3 vs. the Red Sox this season, their most wins against a single opponent in a season all-time (previous was 15 against the O's in 2002 and 2010). They outscored Boston 125-55 for a run differential of plus-70, their highest ever in a season against one opponent (they were plus-69 over the Orioles in 2021).

The Blue Jays lead the major leagues with a .263 team batting average and 1,433 hits. They also lead the AL in OBP (.328), slugging percentage (.432), OPS (.760) and extra-base hits (516) while ranked second in runs (761) and doubles (306), and third in home runs (198).

Blue Jays batters have combined for a hard-hit (95 mph or better) percentage of 44.6, the top rate in the majors (Atlanta is second at 43.5), while their average exit velocity of 90.2 mph is also the highest in mark in the majors (the Braves are second with 89.9).

Toronto has won 17 of the last 25 and 21 of its last 30 games versus AL East foes. They have now gone 41-32 (.562) in divisional play this year, the second-best winning percentage within the division (the Yankees are at .618) and the club's best since registering a .581 in 2006.

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