O's game blog: The series opener against the New York Yankees

After two blown leads and losing a series over the weekend with Oakland, the Orioles' homestand continues tonight as they host the New York Yankees in a first-place showdown.

The O’s 7-6 loss Sunday handed them their third series loss against six wins this season. Overall the Orioles (17-10) have won five of the last eight, 10 of 13 and 12 of their past 18 games.

The Yankees (19-10) played great baseball to start this season and were 12-3 after 15 games. They have gone 7-7 since. Their past three series they went 2-1 against Tampa Bay, 2-2 versus Oakland and 2-1 at Milwaukee.

They lost to the Brewers 7-6 in 11 innings Friday night but won by a 15-3 score Saturday and by 15-5 yesterday. So that is 30 runs on 37 hits in the past two days, with five doubles and seven home runs.

Yankees batters scored 36 runs in their three games at Milwaukee, marking just the second time in the last seven seasons the Yankees have scored as many runs in a three-game series. They put up 43 runs in three games versus Toronto from Sept. 15-17, 2020. The series also marked the second time in the last four seasons they have hit at least 10 homers in a three-game series (they hit 11 in 3G vs. Chicago-NL from 6/10-12/22).

The Yankees have gone 11-5 on the road and 5-4 within the American League East. New York has won four of six and seven of its past 11 games.

The Orioles went 7-6 against New York last year and went 2-1-1 in their four series, only losing their first series matchup. So they have won or tied three straight series against the Yankees. The last time the Orioles went four consecutive series without losing against New York was from September 2015 to June 2016.

In one out of every three games this season, the Orioles have hit three or more home runs. That pace would set a new single-season major league record.

Majors' highest percentage of games with 3+ homers all-time:

* 2024 Baltimore Orioles - 33.3 (9/27).

* 2019 Minnesota Twins - 29.0.

* 2020 Cincinnati Reds - 28.3.

* 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers - 28.3.

* 2023 Atlanta Braves - 27.2.

The Orioles are 803-247 (.765) when hitting three or more home runs in franchise history, dating to the club's 1954 arrival in Baltimore. This season they are 7-2 (.778) when hitting three or more.

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (3-1, 4.45 ERA) gets the start in the series opener. Rodriguez entered his start Tuesday in Anaheim with a 2.63 ERA, but it jumped up when he allowed 11 hits and seven runs over 4 1/3 innings on 82 pitches against the Angels.

The Orioles are 4-1 in Rodriguez’s starts, and he allowed two runs or fewer in his first four games of the season. He has three quality starts.

Lefty batters are hitting .245 with a .663 OPS against the right-hander, and he gives up a .305 average and .946 OPS and has allowed three of his four homers against right-handed hitters.

In his one career start against the Yankees, he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings on three hits last July 28 in Baltimore. He walked two and fanned four, throwing 97 pitches.

Rodriguez became one of six O's pitchers all-time that pitched six or more scoreless for the club in their first career start versus the Yankees. He is joined by:

* Bob Milacki on 9-28-88.

* Mike Cuellar on 4-27-69.

* John Morris on 8/2/68.

* Tom Phoebus on 5/22/67.

* Charlie Beamon on 9/26/56.

Right-hander Clarke Schmidt (2-0, 3.55 ERA) gets the ball for the visitors. He has thrown 5 1/3 or fewer innings in each of his five starts, but has allowed two earned runs or less three times.

The Yankees have won their last seven games when Schmidt has started, including all five this season. The longest current active streak in the majors is held by Atlanta, winning the last 10 Max Fried starts.

The Orioles have hit 44 home runs this year to rank first in MLB while New York has hit 37 to rank tied for second. Both clubs rely on the homers to score runs often thus far. New York gets 46.6 percent of its runs from the longball, the third-highest percentage in MLB. The O's get 45.0 percent from homers to rank fifth. 

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