O's game blog: The Orioles and Nationals series opener

It was a week ago yesterday when the Orioles started a four-game series with the New York Yankees. The day before, they'd blown a ninth-inning lead for the second time in three games versus Oakland and lost 7-6. They lost two of three in that series.

They have lost one game since, due to a run of stunning pitching.

In the seven games beginning with the Yankees series, they have allowed, in order, zero, two, two and two runs. Then in Cincinnati, they allowed zero, one and one run as they outscored the Reds 16-2 during a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park.

Over the last seven games that is two runs or fewer given up each game. It is the longest such run by an O’s team within a single season since an eight-game streak from Aug. 1-Aug. 8, 1980.

The Orioles have allowed eight runs total and posted a team ERA of 1.14 the past seven games, along with an opponent batting average of .154 and a .455 OPS against.

Over the last 14 games, 10 times the O’s allowed two runs or fewer with a team ERA of 2.14 and 32 runs allowed. They have a groundball rate of 45.7 in that span and have given up a .192 batting average against in those 14 games.

The three O’s starting pitchers in Cincinnati – Cole Irvin, John Means and Dean Kremer – combined to pitch 19 1/3 scoreless innings on just six hits with one walk and 18 strikeouts.

O’s starters have produced four scoreless starts the past seven games with a 1.05 ERA in that span, and five quality starts. Over the last 14 games, they have allowed two earned runs or fewer 12 times with a 2.09 ERA and eight quality starts.

Baltimore pitchers have thrown three consecutive quality starts and have five in the past six games. With 15 on the year, they rank tied for third in the American League and tied for fifth in the majors.

The Orioles have pitched one shutout the past three games, two in the last seven, three in nine and four over their past 14 games.

The Orioles moved into first place in winning three of four from the Yankees. Each team completed a sweep over the weekend, so Baltimore's lead atop the AL East remains one game.

At 23-11 (.676), the Orioles hold the best-record in the AL and second-best in the majors, with Philadelphia (25-11, .694) at No. 1.

The Orioles have won four in a row, six of seven, 11 of 15 and 15 of their past 20 games.

Washington (17-17) has won seven of its last 10 games, going 4-0 at Miami, 1-2 at Texas and 2-1 at home versus Toronto, scoring 23 runs in that series. The Nats began this year going 2-6, but are 15-11 since. They are 6-9 at Nationals Park.

The Orioles lead the all-time series against Washington 55-39 and are 26-21 in games at Nats Park. The Birds have won seven games in a row in this series and went 4-0 last year with three shutouts in the season series. The current seven-game win streak is the longest in the history of this rivalry. O's manager Brandon Hyde is 16-8 against the Nats, his best winning percentage against any opponent.

Per Stats Perform, only Juan Soto has a better all-time OPS in O's-Nats matchups than Anthony Santander (minimum 80 plate appearances).

.977 - Juan Soto, Nats

.947 - Anthony Santander, O's (.367 OBP and .595 slug)

.913 - Anthony Rendon, Nats

.907 - Manny Machado, O's

.877 - Adam Jones, O's

Right-hander Corbin Burnes (3-1, 2.61 ERA) gets the start tonight, his eighth as an Oriole. He's allowed three runs over 12 innings his past two games and has allowed two earned runs or fewer six times thus far. He has four quality starts.

Right-hander Trevor Williams (3-0, 2.27 ERA) will make his seventh start in facing Baltimore. The Nats are 5-1 in his outings, and in his past three he has given up one, one and zero runs for a 1.13 ERA in those games. 

Williams went 6-10 with a 5.55 ERA last season. His ERA improvement from that is the best in the majors for all pitchers who made at least 20 starts in 2023 and at least five this season. For the year, over 31 2/3 innings he has allowed 1.168 WHIP and has not given up a home run. 

Tonight he faces the team leading the majors with 54 homers (three more than the Dodgers, who are next at 51). The O's have hit 44 homers the past 23 games and are 15-2 this year when they hit two or more.

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