O's game blog: The series finale in Chicago

After taking the game on Friday night via a comeback win, the Orioles had leads four times in Saturday’s game in Chicago against the White Sox. But they lost 7-6 in 10 innings after gaining leads of 1-0, 4-2, 5-4 and 6-5.

The Orioles (8-7) have been at the .500 mark six times this year at 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6, and it would become seven times should they lose today.

The Orioles are 0-2 in rubber match games, losing 9-5 to Boston on April 2 and 5-3 to the New York Yankees on April 9.

The Orioles have scored six runs in each of the two games in this series. They have scored 20 runs the last three games, and 41 runs the past six games. They have scored 86 runs in 15 games for an average of 5.73 runs per game. They have scored six runs or more eight times this year.

The O’s hit two homers on Saturday as Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander connected on solo shots. It was No. 3 for Mateo and No. 1 for Santander. Mateo went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and is now batting .350/.413/.625/.1.038. He is one of four Orioles with an OPS of 1.000 or better, led by Ryan O’Hearn (1.371), and also including Adley Rutschman (1.075) and Austin Hays (1.045).

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (0-0, 6.75 ERA) takes the mound today for his third MLB start. He allowed two runs over five innings at Texas in his debut game and then pitched Tuesday versus Oakland in his Oriole Park debut. He went 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and five runs with four walks and six strikeouts on 99 pitches.

So in two games he’s given up seven runs and 10 hits in 9 1/3 innings. Lefty batters are 4-for-17 against him, batting .235 with an OPS of .585. Right-handers are 6-for-21, batting .286/.681.

Rodriguez, 23, is using his four-seam fastball 48 percent of the time at an average velocity of 97.0 mph. He is throwing his slider 26 percent, changeup 18 percent, curve six percent and cutter two percent. He has a 40.9 whiff rate on his slider and a 31.9 whiff rate on his fastball. The whiff rate is the amount of total swings divided by the total swings and misses.

Rodriguez ranks in the 90th percentile – the top 10 percent of all MLB pitchers – in average fastball velocity. He ranks in the top 26 percent in chase rate, and top 27 percent in whiff percentage.

Right-hander Dylan Cease (2-0, 1.65 ERA) will make his fourth start for the White Sox, who are 3-0 in his first three. He has allowed just one earned run in each of his starts. His last one was Monday at Minnesota when he went five innings and yielded three hits and three runs (one earned) on 98 pitches.

He has given up just six hits and three earned runs in 2023 over 16 1/3 innings, pitching to a 0.796 WHIP with a 3.9 walk rate and 13.2 strikeout rate.

Lefty batters have just one hit in 25 at-bats versus Cease on the year, batting .040 with a .290 OPS. Right handers are batting .147/.452. Cease averages 96.0 mph on his fastball but throws that pitch just 33 percent. He adds his slider 42 percent, curve 21 and changeup four percent.

In 2022, Cease went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA in 184 innings. He finished second for the AL Cy Young Award and finished 22nd in the MVP voting.

The Orioles right now lead the majors in pitches/per plate appearance

4.13 - Orioles
4.11 - Cincinnati
4.10 - Los Angeles Angels
4.06 - Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta 

The Baltimore offense ranks second to Tampa Bay in runs per game with the Rays at 7.07 and the Orioles 5.73. The Birds rank third in team OBP at .353 in MLB and third in OPS at .808.

The Orioles have four players in the top 22 of the AL in OBP as of this morning. Rutschman is second at .479, Mateo 13th at .413, Hays 21st at .390 and Ramón Urías 22nd at .388.





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