When you get pitching like the Orioles did in Minnesota – and have been getting for the most part since mid-June – you are going to have a chance to win some baseball games.
The O’s allowed three runs Friday and lost, and four on Saturday and lost. But they held the lead Sunday and beat Minnesota 3-1 to end the road trip, going 5-5 through Chicago, Seattle and Minnesota. They come home today for game No. 81 at 36-44. At the season’s halfway point after today they will either be on a pace to win 72 or 74 games in this 2022 season.
Orioles right-hander Tyler Wells improved to 7-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.09 with his latest strong outing on Sunday. Wells allowed three hits and one run over six innings, tying a career high for his longest outing, and he set a career high with seven strikeouts. He walked just one and continues to excel in strikethrowing. He has walked one or none in 10 of his 16 starts. And he’s walked more than two in just one outing this year with 17 walks for the season in 75 2/3 innings, or just 2.02 per every nine innings.
Wells pitched around a two-out error in the first, rolled through the fourth on 53 pitches and got a huge double-play ball off the bat of Carlos Correa in the sixth, when he allowed his only run. The bullpen took it from there with Keegan Akin, Joey Krehbiel and Dillon Tate getting the last nine outs. Tate fanned the game’s last two batters to keep the Orioles from suffering a third straight walk-off loss for the first time since Aug. 12-14, 2013 at Arizona.
The Twins had no late-inning magic this time as the Orioles got the win and salvaged a .500 road trip. While they are 18-27 on the road for the year, the Orioles are 12-11 over their past 23 away from Baltimore.
And Wells is on some pitching roll:
* Wells has allowed one run or less in four straight starts, pitching to an ERA of 1.23 in that span.
* Wells is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.93 over his last five starts.
* The O’s have won Wells’ last seven starts and his ERA is 1.89 in that span.
* Wells has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 straight starts and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts this season.
And the Orioles starting pitching has been on a real roll, too. A roll without John Means or Grayson Rodriguez, with Kyle Bradish on the injured list and without DL Hall, who is still at Triple-A. But they keep patching it together and putting up maybe even more zeroes than we have a right to expect.
The O’s rotation has achieved this recently:
* O’s starters recorded three straight quality starts in the Minnesota series, allowing three earned runs over 18 1/3 for an ERA of 1.47. They have four quality starts the past five games with an ERA of 1.27.
* O’s starting pitchers have allowed one or zero earned runs in 13 of the last 16 games with a rotation ERA of 2.03 in that span.
O’s pitching overall has allowed 41 runs those last 16 games and they’ve given up two runs or less in 10 of the 16 games, going 9-1 during that stretch.
As the Orioles host Texas today at 1:05 p.m. to reach the season’s midpoint, they will begin a week-long homestand versus the Rangers and Angels. We’ll see if the offense can start to heat up again to match this pitching, and we’ll turn the page tomorrow to begin the second half of this intriguing 2022 season.