O's game blog: The series opener at Minnesota to wrap up road trip

The Orioles have reached the final stop on a three-city road trip. They went 3-1 in Chicago against the White Sox and 1-2 in Seattle versus the Mariners. And tonight they begin a three-game weekend series in Minnesota. They are 4-3 on the trip and need one win to guarantee a .500 trip and two to post a wining road trip.

The Orioles (35-42) have the best record, for what it is worth, of any fifth-place team in the majors. They begin play tonight six games behind third-place Tampa Bay and 8 ½ games behind both Boston and Toronto, which are tied for second place in the American League East.

The Orioles completed June at 14-12 and begin a new month tonight in the series opener. In posting their first winning month since August of 2017 (17-12), they had a plus 17 run differential in June. In 26 games over the month, they averaged 4.77 runs per game, seventh in the AL and 12th in MLB. Baltimore's 3.86 ERA (97 ER/226.0 IP) in June ranked sixth in the AL and 12th in MLB. Its .538 winning percentage ranked sixth in the AL, behind the New York Yankees (.786, 22-6), Boston Red Sox (.769, 20-6), Cleveland Guardians (.643, 18-10), Houston Astros (.640, 16-9) and Seattle Mariners (.552, 16-13). O's relievers owned a 2.89 ERA (31 ER/96.2 IP) in June, the second-lowest in MLB last month, behind the New York Yankees with a 2.00 ERA (21 ER/94.1 IP) in 28 games. O's starters have posted a 2.18 ERA (16 ER/66.0 IP) in 13 games since June 16, the best team starting pitcher ERA in MLB over that span.

Even in losing the last two games in Seattle, the Orioles have won eight of 13 and 11 of 18 games. They are 13-10 their past 23 games and 21-18 since May 19. They went 14-16 in May, giving them a .500 record at 28-28 since May 1.

O’s pitchers have allowed only 20 runs the last eight games, 24 in 10 and 33 runs over the past 13 games. The club has allowed two runs or less in nine of those 13 games with a team ERA of 2.43 in that span.

The Orioles play a division leader tonight. The Twins (43-36, .544) have the fifth-best record in the AL, although their win-loss mark trails three AL East teams. They lead the AL Central by one game over Cleveland, by 5 ½ over the White Sox, by 11 ½ over Detroit and by 13 1/3 over Kansas City.

The O's and Twins split a four-game series at Oriole Park from May 2-5. Baltimore needs two wins to secure its first season series victory over Minnesota since 2016 (5-1). The Orioles are looking to snap a 10-game losing streak at Target Field since July 5, 2018, and their last win in Minnesota was an 11-5 victory on July 9, 2017. The Twins are 34-16 against the Orioles since the start of 2014. Gary Sánchez has 20 home runs in 65 career games versus the O’s, his most against any opponent.

The Twins just concluded a 2-3 road trip that ended with walk-off losses both Wednesday and Thursday. Minnesota is 5-7 over the last 12 games and 23-17 at home for the year. The Twins are 13-11 in series-opening games; they went 13-15 in June and 11-9 against AL East opponents.

The Twins announced today that they have named Pete Maki pitching coach. Maki replaces Wes Johnson, who accepted the role of pitching coach at Louisiana State University. Maki, 39, began the 2022 season as the club’s bullpen coach, his third campaign in that role. The Lufkin, Texas native originally joined the Twins organization prior to the 2018 season as minor league pitching coordinator and has been part of the club’s major league staff since 2020.

O's catcher Adley Rutschman is slashing .290/.343/.597 (18-for-62) with 10 doubles, three home runs, 10 runs scored, nine RBIs, five walks and a .940 OPS over his last 17 games, hitting safely in 12 of them and reaching base safely in all but two. He recorded an extra-base hit in six straight games from June 21-27 which, per the Elias Sports Bureau, is tied with Ryan Mountcastle (2021) and Chito Martínez (1991) for the longest such streak by a rookie in Orioles history. His 10 doubles in June led all rookies and ranked tied for third in the AL and tied for fourth in MLB.

Right-hander Spenser Watkins (1-1, 5.14 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles tonight. On Saturday in Chicago he allowed one unearned run over five innings. Righty Joe Ryan (6-3, 3.20 ERA) starts for Minnesota. He has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his 11 starts and the Twins are 7-4 in those 11 games. 



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