O's game blog: Trying to keep the sweepless streak alive at Nats Park

The Orioles, after losing 3-0 at Washington last night, need a win tonight in the second and final game of this series to avoid being swept in a regular season series for the first time since May 2022.

The Orioles went sweepless the entire 2023 regular season and through their first 11 series of this season. But their record run of going 102 straight regular season series without being swept could end tonight at Nats Park.

The Orioles were swept three straight in the American League Division Series last October. But their last sweep in the regular season was at Detroit from May 13-15, 2002.

Their current run of 102 straight series of at least two decisions (no ties) is easily the longest in O’s history, blowing by a run of 46 straight sweepless series during the 1971 and 1972 seasons.

This is the fourth-longest streak in major league history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the O’s run trails only the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals (124), 1906-09 Chicago Cubs (115) and 1903-05 New York Giants (105).

This year the O’s lost the first two games of a home series with Milwaukee but won the third game 6-4 on April 14. During their streak, 12 times they could have lost a game and would have been swept, but they won each time. This year they have won eight and lost three series. They are 4-1 in road series, losing their first of the year at Pittsburgh, but since winning series at Boston, Kansas City, Anaheim and Cincinnati.

On Tuesday night, Nats starter Trevor Williams went five scoreless on two hits and four relievers completed the three-hitter. It was the second time the O’s have been shutout (also May 1 versus the Yankees). It was the fourth shutout of the year for the Nationals, who have blanked the Orioles, Dodgers, Astros and Rangers. The Dodgers and Orioles are 1-2 in the majors in runs per game with the Rangers seventh and the Astros 16th.

The Orioles offense averaged 5.8 runs per game and produced 10 hits or more 10 times in the season’s first 21 games. In Baltimore’s last 14 games, they have scored 4.1 runs per game and have just one double-digit hits game.

At 23-12, the Orioles and Yankees are tied for the AL East lead, with the Red Sox 4 1/2 games back, Rays five games out and Blue Jays 7 1/2 behind.

The Nationals (18-17) are in third place in the National League East, seven games behind the division-leading Phillies. Winners of eight of the last 11 games, the Nats are over .500 for the first time since July 1, 2021. They are 16-11 in their past 27 games after a 2-6 start.

Orioles pitching continues to be quite good and the club’s 3.31 team ERA ranks fourth-best in the AL and tied for fifth in the majors.

O’s pitchers have allowed 11 runs their past eight games with a team ERA of 1.39 in that span. Over the last 15 games, the club ERA is 2.22 and Baltimore starters have given up two earned runs or less 12 times in this span.

O’s pitchers have gotten a lot of ground balls in recent games and they rank among the best teams in the majors at groundball percentage:

51.0 – Giants
49.8 – Braves
47.7 – Phillies
47.5 – Rockies
46.0 – Orioles

Last season they ranked ninth in the majors in grounder rate at 43.7.

The Baltimore bullpen posted 1 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday night. Over the past eight games, the O’s ‘pen has allowed one run or less each game with an ERA of 1.23 in this stretch.

Right-hander Kyle Bradish (0-0, 1.93 ERA) makes his second start tonight. He gave up one run and four hits over 4 2/3 innings last Thursday versus the Yankees, throwing 84 pitches.

It was a great sight for the team to get him back. In mid-February, it was announced that Bradish would begin the season on the injured list with a right elbow UCL sprain that needed a platelet-rich plasma injection.

His road back to the majors included three minor league rehab starts, where he went 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. His pitch counts increased from 44 to 64 to 79 in that last game.

Bradish went 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA in 30 starts last year when he finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting. Since the beginning of last season, the O’s are 20-11 in his starts.

In two career games against the Nationals, Bradish is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.00, throwing 14 scoreless on eight hits.

Lefty Mitchell Parker (2-1, 2.53 ERA) goes for the Nats, making his fifth start. He has allowed two, zero, one and three runs with a 1.078 WHIP and has not allowed a homer over 21 1/3 innings.

Parker, 24, is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 10 Nats prospect and No. 21 by MLBPipeline.com. Drafted in round five of the 2020 draft, he was added to Washington’s 40-man roster last winter.

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