O's game blog: O's staff has 2.33 ERA the last 12 games with four shutouts

Irvin pitching gray

CINCINNATI – The Orioles are on a real solid pitching roll here and try to keep that going tonight with the return of left-hander John Means to the Baltimore rotation.

The O’s produced a four-pitcher, two-hit shutout last night and beat Cincinnati 3-0 in the series and road trip opener in front of 25,861 at Great American Ball Park.

They are now 21-11 and have won four of five and nine of their past 13 games. They are 9-4 on the road, 8-3 in series-opening games and 4-1 when that series opener is on the road.

In the last five games, O’s pitching has allowed 0, 2, 2, 2 and 0 runs. That is six runs allowed in that span, for an ERA of 1.20, giving up 24 hits in 45 innings with a .157 batting average against and .486 OPS.

Over those five games, Baltimore starters have an ERA of 1.52 and in that stretch, the bullpen pitchers have allowed just one run over 15 1/3 innings with one walk to 16 strikeouts.

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Orioles and Reds Saturday night lineups and notes

Means pitching gray

John Means makes his 2024 debut tonight as the Orioles continue their series in Cincinnati following last night’s 3-0 win. And after Cole Irvin ran his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings.

Means hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since Sept. 29 against the Red Sox, when he allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He faced teammates in a simulated game at Camden Yards prior to the Division Series and experienced discomfort in his elbow/forearm area that led to his exclusion from the roster, a delayed off-season throwing program and stint on the injured list.

Tonight marks his latest comeback to the rotation, and he’s with a club that’s 21-11, has won 13 of its last 18 games and is one ahead of the Yankees for first place.

The Reds are a new opponent for Means, who’s posted a career 3.97 ERA in 13 starts against the National League.

Jeimer Candelario is 3-for-8 with a double, triple, RBI and walk against him. Santiago Espinal is 2-for-2 with a double and RBI.

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De La Cruz gets last laugh on suspicious Nats (updated)


Whether it was a display of gamesmanship meant to rattle a talented rookie or genuine concern about the device Elly De La Cruz had wrapped around the knob of his bat, Davey Martinez and the Nationals’ actions in the top of the second this evening didn’t produce anything close to a desired result for the home team.

Not only was De La Cruz ultimately allowed to use the device, he used it while launching a gargantuan home run to right-center and then immediately pointed at it before circling the bases, the defining moment of the Nats’ ugly, 9-2 loss to the Reds on a long, muggy night of unsightly baseball on South Capitol Street.

De La Cruz, the sport’s top-rated prospect one month ago and now the face of Cincinnati’s sudden resurgence to the top of the National League Central division, had his way with the Nationals for the second straight day.

The Nats? They lost their third straight to open this four-game series, not to mention their 13th loss in their last 14 home games despite having gone 6-3 on the road in between all that.

"We can't give teams those extra outs," Martinez said after watching his team commit two errors and allow four stolen bases. "Every time we do that, it comes back and bites us."

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