O's game blog: The series and homestand opener versus Cleveland

After losing three games over the weekend at Houston and getting swept for the second time this year by a combined 27-13 score, the Orioles are back at home tonight. They host the Cleveland Guardians in the opening game of a three-game series and seven-game homestand.

The Orioles (49-28, .636) have the third-best record in the American League and begin play tonight 1.5 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees.

When they faced the Phillies, they held the best record in the National League and the Yankees were atop the AL when the O's played them in New York. Tonight they host a Cleveland team that at 49-26 (.653) currently holds the best record in the AL and second-best in the majors behind Philadelphia.

Cleveland has won five in a row over Seattle and Toronto by a combined 33-12 score. Cleveland batters clubbed 12 homers and batted hit .273 in the win streak with a team OPS of .899 while scoring 6.6 runs per game.

Cleveland has scored at least six runs in each of those five wins. The last time the team won five consecutive games with at least six runs in each was in July 2019, last doing so in six straight in May 2018.

The Orioles and Guardians rank first and third in the majors heading into this game in runs per game.

5.23 - Orioles
5.06 - Philadelphia
5.05 - Cleveland
5.04 - Los Angeles Dodgers

The Orioles, Phillies, Guardians and Dodgers are the only four major league teams currently averaging 5.00 runs per game or more.

The Orioles lead the AL in team OPS at .770 and are second in the majors behind the Dodgers at .778. The Guardians team OPS is .728, good for sixth overall in the AL in team OPS and 10th in the majors.

Both Cleveland and Baltimore have been good this year at plating runs with two outs.

MLB, most runs scored with 2 outs - 2024:

163 - Cleveland
155 - Philadelphia
154 - Baltimore and Milwaukee
146 - Cincinnati

Last season, the O’s were 12th in MLB in runs scored with two outs (298), while the Guardians were 25th (246).

The Orioles have posted a poor record against the Guardians since 2017, due in large part to averaging fewer than four runs per game in the matchup. The Orioles have gone 14-27 (341) against Cleveland in that time, matching their worst-mark in that span against any other club but Houston (also 14-27). They have averaged 3.8 runs per game in those games.

The O's Gunnar Henderson, having a brilliant season with 24 homers, 53 RBIs and an OPS of .976 leads all MLB players in Wins Above Replacement via both Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.

Henderson is at 5.6 via Baseball Reference with Aaron Judge next at 5.2 and Shohei Ohtani third at 4.4. Via FanGraphs, Henderson tops all position players at 5.4 with Judge at 5.2 and Juan Soto at 4.6.

Henderson has reached base safely in 30 straight games, a career-best mark. This is also the longest active streak in the majors. It marks the longest on-base streak by an O's batter since Nick Markakis' 38-game streak from July 5 to Aug. 18, 2009, and the longest by a batter under 23 years old in Orioles history. Also, the only other shortstop to reach safely in at least 30 games for Baltimore all-time is Cal Ripken Jr. (twice: 30 straight in 1986 and 46 straight in 1998).

The Orioles need two wins in their next seven games to clinch a winning record in June. With a 17-9 record in May, the O's have been above .500 in eight consecutive full months since the start of 2023, the longest streak by the team (min. 10 games played in the month) since May 1982 through September 1983 (11), per the Elias Sports Bureau. The current stretch is the longest active streak in the majors; Atlanta had its streak of 11 straight winning months since June 2022 snapped with a 13-14 record in May.

On the mound tonight, lefty Cade Povich (0-1, 3.94 ERA) starts for the Orioles making his fourth MLB start. Last Wednesday against the Yankees, he walked five but gave up just one hit and one run over 4 2/3 innings. 

Righty Tanner Bibee (5-2, 3.65 ERA) gets the ball for Cleveland. He pitched six scoreless at Seattle last Wednesday. Over his past seven starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA, allowing one or zero runs four times in that stretch. 




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