O's game blog: Wrapping up quick series with the Cubs (game rained out)

The Orioles (24-33) and Chicago Cubs (23-33) wrap up this quick two-game series tonight at Oriole Park after Baltimore hit five home runs and won the series opener 9-3 last night.

The Orioles tied a season high with the five longballs. They earlier hit five on May 5 versus Minnesota. Last night Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini went back-to-back to start the last of the first, and it was the fourth time this year the Orioles hit back-to-back homers.

This marked the first time the Orioles tagged back-to-back longballs to start a game since Sept. 7, 2017 at Minnesota, when Seth Smith and Manny Machado did it. It was the first time O’s batters had hit back-to-back home runs to lead off a game at Oriole Park since May 10, 2012 in the opening game of a doubleheader versus Texas. Ryan Flaherty and J.J. Hardy did it then.

When the Orioles hit just four homers in their first 11 home games of the 2022 season, we had to wonder how much more difficult it would be to hit homers now that the outfield wall was moved back in left and left-center. But now the Orioles are bashing more and more homers in Oriole Park. They have hit nine in their past three games and 13 in their last six games in Baltimore.

Through last night’s game, the Orioles as a team have hit 31 homers in 30 home games with a slugging percentage of .375 and .678 OPS. They have hit 25 homers in 27 road games with a slugging percentage of .364 and OPS of .656.

So they average 1.03 homers per game at home and 0.93 per game on the road.

AL team home run leaders since May 1:

No. 1) New York Yankees, 54
No. 2) Texas Rangers, 51
No. 3) Houston Astros, 48
No. 4) Baltimore Orioles, 46
No. 5) Los Angeles Angels, 42

With Tuesday’s win, the Orioles have scored 102 runs their past 19 games, scoring 5.37 per game in that span. They have scored 200 over the last 45 games, for an average of 4.44 per game in that span.

They are now 4-3 versus National League teams and overall have won six of their past 12 and 10 of 19 games. They are 3-4 on this homestand that ends tonight and 15-15 at home this year.

On the mound tonight, right-hander Jordan Lyles (3-4, 4.50 ERA) will try to get locked in again, making his 12th start. In his past two – against Boston and Seattle – he allowed eight runs (seven earned) and 18 hits over 9 1/3 innings as his ERA increased from 4.10.

He has thrown six innings or more four times, and each time produced a quality start. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his 11 games and the Orioles are 4-7 in his outings.

Lyles is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five home starts and has not allowed a homer at Oriole Park over 30 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-5, 5.32 ERA) gets the start for the Cubs, making his 10th start. On the year, he has allowed 46 hits and eight homers over 47 1/3 innings, with 12 walks to 45 strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 1.225 with a 2.3 walk rate and 8.6 strikeout rate.

The Cubs are just 2-7 in his games, losing three of the past four.

In four starts in May, Stroman went 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA, .167 batting average against and .428 OPS. Then he had his worst start of the season his last time out Friday against St. Louis. Over four innings he gave up 10 hits and nine runs, including three homers. His ERA jumped from 3.95 to 5.32.

The Orioles bullpen owns a 3.11 ERA, fifth-best in the major leagues. But their 248 2/3 innings pitched are the most in the bigs. Orioles relievers have pitched to a 2.44 ERA in 30 home games.

Right-hander Félix Bautista ranks sixth among American League rookies with a 1.88 ERA. He has thrown 25 pitches of 100+ mph, the fourth-most in the AL and 11th-most in the majors.

Lefty Nick Vespi has yet to allow an earned run this season across three outings (4 1/3 innings) for the Orioles and 16 appearances (18 1/3 innings) in Triple-A. Vespi has induced 11 swings and misses on 50 pitches (22.0 percent) for the Orioles this year, the highest swing-and-miss rate on the team (minimum 50 pitches).

Game rained out: Tonight's game was rained out and it will be made up on Aug. 18 at 3:05 p.m at Camden Yards. 


Orioles' game vs. Cubs postponed due to rain
Orioles option Watkins to Norfolk

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