O's game blog: The series begins at Rogers Centre

The road trip that began in Boston for a one-night appearance and then moved to Florida headed north on Sunday, and the Orioles have arrived in Toronto for their latest series at Rogers Centre. The O’s and Blue Jays split four games in mid-June there when the Orioles were nine games under .500 and six games out of the third American League wild card spot.

Tonight they begin play (59-55) four games over .500 and 1.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the third AL wild card spot. They led that spot by a ½ game after Friday’s 10-3 win against the Rays, but scored just three runs in losing the last two days there.

The Orioles are 2.5 games back of Toronto for the first wild card spot and two games back of Seattle for the second spot. In sitting behind Tampa Bay for a playoff spot, the Orioles are also just ½ game ahead of Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox. So as of now, just three games separate six teams from Toronto through the Twins and White Sox for three playoff spots.

For the season the Orioles average 4.24 runs per game, and the AL average is 4.21. But over the last 12 games, the Orioles have gone 8-4 and have scored six runs or more in seven of those games, going 7-0. However, in the four losses they scored one, three, two and one run, respectively.

For the season they rank 10th in AL team batting at .238 and 11th in OBP at .306. They are seventh with a .392 slugging mark, and their .698 OPS ranks ninth and is behind the league average of .700.

The Orioles are 23-27 in AL East games. Despite losing the last two versus the Rays, they have won six of the last 10 and nine of 17 AL East games. They are 15-13 in the previous 28. They are 4-2 against Toronto a year after gong 5-14 against the Blue Jays.

Overall, the Orioles have won eight of 12, 12 of 19, 24 of 35, 29 of 45 and 35 of the last 55 games. They are 52-41 since May 1, a winning percentage of .559. Winning at that pace over a full year would produce 91 wins.

Last week at Camden Yards, the Orioles beat Toronto by scores of 7-4 and 6-5, and a chance at a three-game sweep last Wednesday was rained out. The Orioles gained their first series win over Toronto since July 5-7, 2019 after going 0-10-3 in the previous 13 series between the teams.

Tonight’s pitching matchup shows right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-4, 6.42 ERA) on the mound for Baltimore. Since coming off the injured list recently, he has an ERA of 3.52 his past three starts, allowing six earned runs over 15 1/3 with five walks to 16 strikeouts and an opponent OPS of .664.

Bradish faced the Blue Jays last Tuesday and gave up three runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings on 80 pitches.

Lefty Yusei Kikuchi (4-6, 5.13 ERA) starts for the Jays. Last Monday in Baltimore he gave up five runs over five innings. He allowed a Ramón Urías three-run homer in the first inning and back-to-back homers to Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle in the third. He is 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00 in two starts on the season versus Baltimore.

Toronto (61-52) just lost two of three over the weekend to Cleveland, scoring just four runs in the three games. The Blue Jays have lost four of five and seven of their last 10. They are 14-9 over a longer stretch.

These teams will meet 13 times in the O’s last 49 games and 10 times in the last 29 games starting Sept. 5.

Toronto is 11-9 in the second half, 20-21 in AL East games and 35-23 at Rogers Centre, which includes a home series record of 11-5-2.  

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went hitless Sunday to end his hitting streak at 22 games. He batted .374 with an OPS of 1.007 during his streak. Guerrero went 9-for-17 (.529) with a double, a pair of homers and five RBIs in the four-game series back in Toronto. He went 2-for-10 with two singles last week in Baltimore. He has hit .344 (72-for-209) with 12 doubles, 18 home runs and 46 RBIs in his 51 career games against the Orioles (1.051 OPS).

Minor leagues moves and awards: The Orioles today moved 10 of their 2022 draft picks from the rookie-level Florida Complex League to low Single-A Delmarva. Those moving up are position players Dylan Beavers, Max Wagner, Jud Fabian, Silas Ardoin, Adam Crampton and Adam Retzbach and pitchers Cameron Weston, Bradley Brehmer, Jared Beck and Reese Sharp.

Delmarva also added pitchers Keagen Gillies and Juan Nunez from the Jorge López deal with Minnesota. Delmarva infielder Luis Valdez, who has 59 stolen bases, moved to high Single-A Aberdeen.

Lefty pitcher Cade Povich and righty Chayce McDermott, acquired in the deadline trades, are moving from Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie. Povich has thrown 12 scoreless innings for Aberdeen.

Lefty Drew Rom (7-2, 4.26 ERA) and righty Ryan Watson (7-5, 3.41 ERA) have been promoted from Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk.

Finally, today the O’s player development department named Bowie infielder Joey Ortiz the Player of the Month for July and also Bowie right-hander Garrett Stallings the Pitcher of the Month. 

Ortiz batted .404/.438/.674 with 13 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and an OPS of 1.112 in 23 games. Stallings went 2-1 with a 1.46 ERA over 24 2/3 innings with two walks to 31 strikeouts.


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