O's game blog: Wrapping up the series and homestand with Game 3 against Seattle

The Orioles offense broke out Friday in a 9-2 win over Seattle. But after taking an early 2-0 lead last night, the Orioles scored just one more run and lost to the Mariners 4-3. That sets up these teams for a rubber match today to end this series and homestand.

The Orioles are 3-2 in rubber match games and Seattle is 5-3.

The Orioles are 28-15 overall and they are 4-3 on the homestand ending this afternoon before the Orioles head to St. Louis and Chicago for a week-long road trip with the Cardinals and White Sox.

The O's bullpen last night allowed four runs or more in a game for just the fifth time all year and for the second time in the last 23 games.

With last night's game, the Orioles have officially extended their sweepless streak to 106 consecutive regular season series of at least two decisions (no ties), passing the 1903-05 New York Giants for the third-longest such streak in major leauge history.

The O's Jordan Westburg tripled for the third time this season in the second inning, later scoring on an Austin Hays' sacrifice fly. His three triples set a career high for a season after hitting two last year. The Orioles have 11 triples, which is tied for second in the majors behind the Tigers with 14.

Second sacker Jorge Mateo has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games with an at-bat after doubling to lead off the third inning. Of his 20 hits this season, 11 have gone for extra bases (eight doubles, one triple, two home runs).

Outfielder Colton Cowser has drawn three walks in a game for the second time in his career, also on April 24 of this season in Anaheim. 

Center fielder Cedric Mullins snapped an 0-for-17 skid at the plate with a bunt single in the fourth inning.

Seattle (25-21) is leading the American League West by 1 1/2 games over the Rangers. Saturday's victory was their sixth comeback win and their second win of the season when trailing after the sixth inning. They are now 20-3 when scoring four or more runs. The M's picked up their 27th quality start this season, tied with the Phillies for the major league lead.

The Orioles today start right-hander Corbin Burnes (3-2, 2.68 ERA) who is making his 10th start of the season. The Orioles won his first five starts, but have lost his last four, mostly due to a lack of runs rather than anything Burnes did or didn’t do.

In those four games, he is 0-2 but with an ERA of 2.59, allowing a .207 batting average and .569 OPS. He has allowed one, two, three and one runs in those games where the Orioles have scored just one run over his last 26 innings on the mound. They have been shutout in two of his past four starts, scoring four runs total in those games.

For the year, Burnes has thrown 53 2/3 innings, allowing 40 hits with 14 walks to 49 strikeouts with a 1.006 WHIP.

In this entry, Burnes talked about his strikeouts being down this year since he fanned 11 on Opening Day. His K rate is 8.2 for the year and 7.17 since that first start. It was 10.8 in 2022 and 9.3 last season.

Lefty batters have hit just .163 with a .460 OPS against Burnes. That OPS number ranks 14th best vs. lefties in the American League. Right-handers are batting .233/.661 off Burnes.

Burnes has made just one career start versus the Mariners. Last April 17 at Seattle, he got the win for the Brewers, allowing three hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Right-hander George Kirby (4-3, 3.58 ERA), who threw nine scoreless innings at the Orioles last August, starts the series finale for Seattle.

Kirby was Seattle’s top draft pick (No. 20 overall) in 2019 out of Elon University. He finished eighth in voting for the 2023 AL Cy Young Award when he went 13-10 with a 3.35 ERA.

He is among the pitchers with the best walk rate in the game since last year. He averaged 0.9 walks per nine innings last year, and has the same rate this season and 1.1 walk rate for his career. In 65 career games since the 2022 season, he is 25-18 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.086 WHIP.

In 2024, he has made nine starts with the Mariners going 4-5. But he has pitched well in most of his games. He did have a slow start with an ERA of 8.16 after his first three games. But over his past five outings, four times he has allowed one run or less. In those five, he has an ERA of 1.50 with three walks to 32 strikeouts over 32 innings.

For the season, he ranks tied for 21st in the AL in innings, 24th in ERA and is 16th in opponent OPS at .633.

His 0.9 walk rate is second-best in the league behind only Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin at 0.68. He has a 10.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is third-best in the AL.

Kirby faced the Orioles last Aug. 12 in a big series in Seattle and shut down Baltimore on three hits over nine innings with seven strikeouts and no walks on 103 pitches. But the game went to the 10th and Ryan Mountcastle singled in the game’s only run in the O’s 1-0 win.

In four career games versus Baltimore, Kirby is 1-2 with a 3.20 ERA with three walks to 21 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. Baltimore batters have hit .232 with a .712 OPS against him.

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