O's game blog: The road trip begins at Detroit

The Orioles’ longest road trip of the year – three cities and covering 10 games – begins tonight when they start a four-game series in Detroit.

The Orioles (16-8) have the second-best record in the American League East and in the league as well. Tampa Bay (20-5, .800) leads the division by 3 ½ games over the Orioles, who would be in first place in both the AL Central and AL West. The Orioles hold the fourth-best record in the majors behind the Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates (18-8, .692) and Atlanta Braves (17-8, .680).

The Orioles are 7-4 on the road, winning three of four road series. They went 1-2 at Boston, 2-1 at Texas, 2-1 at Chicago versus the White Sox and 2-0 at Washington.

The Orioles loss on Tuesday against Boston was their only loss since April 12. They have won eight of their past nine games, 10 of 12 and 12 of the last 15. The Orioles swept three from the Tigers last weekend in Baltimore by scores of 2-1, 5-1 and 2-1. So they outscored Detroit 9-3 in that series, allowing three runs and 14 hits over 28 innings with 12 walks and 35 strikeouts.

Detroit has won the season series against the Orioles the last five years it has been played.

The Tigers (9-14) left Baltimore and took two of three at Milwaukee, losing Wednesday to conclude a 2-4 road trip. Since a five-game win streak, Detroit has lost five of its last seven. The Tigers are 4-4 at home and 5-10 on the road. They are 8-4 in games decided by one and two runs but 0-2 in such games against the Orioles. Detroit is 5-13 when scoring four runs or less.

The Tigers are also 1-11 versus the AL East, going 0-3 against the Rays, Red Sox and Orioles and 1-2 versus the Blue Jays. They have been outscored 68-24 in the 12 games and scored three runs or less in 11 of the 12.

The Orioles have won five straight series against Oakland, the Chicago White Sox, Washington, Detroit and Boston. According to STATS, the Orioles are trying to become the first team this season to win six straight series. Baltimore has won six straight series just twice this century, once from August to September last season and once from July to August in 2014.

O’s center fielder Cedric Mullins leads the AL with 10 steals and is the first Oriole to swipe at least 10 bases without getting caught to start the season since Brian Roberts and Corey Patterson both went 13-for-13 in 2006.

Since April 18, the Tigers are averaging a major league-worst 2.22 runs per game, as Detroit has scored five runs in a game just once since then. In the AL team stats, Detroit ranks last in batting average (.214), 14th in OBP (.278), last in slugging (.328) and OPS (.606). The Tigers average 3.04 runs per game which is last in the AL. The Orioles are fourth in the AL at 5.21 runs per game.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-0, 3.60 ERA) will make his sixth O’s start tonight. The team is 4-1 in his games. Gibson is tied for second in the AL in wins with Minnesota’s Joe Ryan at 5-0 leading the league. His ERA ranks 22nd best among qualifying AL pitchers.

Gibson has thrown six innings or more three times, produced three quality starts (of the club’s six on the year) and has allowed two earned runs or fewer three times. Last Saturday at home against Detroit he got the win, allowing two hits and one run over 6 1/3 innings with three walks and a career-high tying 11 strikeouts on 95 pitches. He is 2-0 with a 5.19 ERA in 2023 road outings.

Lefty Joey Wentz (0-3, 7.56 ERA) gets the ball for the home team. He has thrown 16 2/3 innings in four games, allowing 17 hits, eight walks and with 14 strikeouts. His WHIP is 1.500 with a 1.6 homer rate, 4.3 walk rate and 7.6 K rate. The Tigers are 1-3 in his starts and he has gone 5 2/3 innings or less each time.

The 40th overall pick in the 2016 draft by Atlanta, he took the loss in that Saturday game against Gibson and the Orioles, allowing five runs and six hits over four innings on 72 pitches. He gave up a solo homer to James McCann.

The Orioles are 8-0 in series-opening games, winning five of the eight by a single run. In fact their past three series-opening victories are by one run over Washington (1-0), Detroit (2-1) and Boston (5-4).


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