O's game blog: The series opener with Minnesota at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS – After a remarkable night in New York - and a 14-1 blowout win over the Yankees - the Orioles' suddenly resurgent offense is in for a real test this weekend. The O's open a series against the Minnesota Twins, a new hot team that leads MLB in team ERA. 

The Orioles went 15-for-26 at-bat last night in the first four innings and led 13-0 in the Bronx. By that point of the game, Gunnar Henderson and Ryan O'Hearn had already combined for nine RBIs. Henderson was 4-for-4 with two homers, three runs and five RBIs.

There have been three rookies to record 4+ hits and 5+ RBIs in a road game against the Yankees since RBIs became an official stat in 1920 – Don Wheeler in 1949, Maikel Franco in 2015 and yesterday.

The Orioles set season highs in runs and hits. The previous tops was 13 runs and 17 hits and they had 20 last night. 

Heading into Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles had lost six of seven games. But now they have back-to-back wins by 6-3 and 14-1.

The Orioles (51-35) lost two of three at home last weekend to the Twins, and saw firsthand how well Minnesota can pitch. The Orioles lost by scores of 8-1 and 1-0 at Camden Yards before scoring two runs in the eighth last Sunday to pull out a 2-1 win.

They scored just three runs on 12 hits in three games. Twins starting pitching allowed just one run and seven hits over 19 innings in the series. The Orioles went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Minnesota entered that series having lost three in a row to Atlanta and had lost nine of 14 as they entered Camden Yards.

But they won that series in Baltimore and they came home to then sweep three from Kansas City by 8-4, 9-3 and 5-0 scores. Wednesday night, right-hander Pablo Lopez pitched a complete-game four-hitter on 100 pitches with no walks and 12 strikeouts. Lopez allowed one run over six innings last weekend at Oriole Park.

This was the latest strong pitching performance by the Twins, who had the No. 4 ERA in the American League entering the O’s series. But now, after allowing just 10 runs while winning five of their past six, Minnesota ranks No. 1 in both the American League and MLB with a team ERA of 3.55. They also lead both the AL and MLB in rotation ERA at 3.54.

Over the past six games, starting with the series in Baltimore, Minnesota’s team ERA is 1.53. And in 53 innings, Twins pitching has walked 11 and fanned 61.

O’s batters have a challenge on their hands this weekend at Target Field.

Now to mention that the Twins are 27-9 against the Orioles since the 2017 season.

O’s lefty Cole Irvin gets tonight’s start. He is 1-3 with a 6.32 ERA over nine games, seven starts. But since returning to the Baltimore roster on June 10, Irvin is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA. He gave up one run and six hits in five innings to Minnesota last Sunday and has allowed two runs over eight innings in his past starts with one interrupted by rain.

In two career games versus the Twins, Irvin is 0-0 with a 1.54 ERA over 11 2/3 innings. In 14 career games against AL Central clubs, he is 5-3 with a 2.68 ERA.

Right-hander Bailey Ober (5-4, 2.70 ERA) shut down the Orioles last Saturday allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. The O’s went 2-for-23 against him as the Twins posted a 1-0 victory.

For the year he has allowed 58 hits in 76 2/3 innings with 15 walks, 74 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.952. He has a 1.8 walk rate and 8.7 K rate and the Twins are 8-5 in his 2023 starts.

He has thrown four straight quality starts with an ERA of 2.88 and .639 opponent OPS in that span. On the year he has eight quality starts.   

Minnesota (45-43) leads the AL Central by two games over Cleveland and has won five of six and nine of 14 games. Minnesota is 26-19 at Target Field. 

In terms of combined ERA, Baltimore has the best reliever duo this season in Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano at 1.32. Minnesota’s duo of Jhoan Duran and Brock Stewart rank second with a 1.39 combined ERA (top duo on each team; minimum 25.0 IP).


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