O’s game blog: It’s Cashner against Sale in series finale

The Orioles and Boston Red Sox play the third and deciding game of their series tonight at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 4-1 on Monday night but allowed three homers in last night’s 8-5 loss to Boston.

The O’s are 13-23 overall and 5-12 at home, but have won four of six at Camden Yards and are 3-3 against Boston. The O’s are 9-11 against American League East teams. Boston is 18-19 and has won seven of nine and 12 of 18 games. They are 7-8 within the division.

cashner-delivers-white-sidebar.jpgOrioles right-hander Andrew Cashner (4-1, 4.71 ERA) gets the start tonight in the series finale. Cashner will be making his eighth start and looking for a fifth win, which would be one more than he had in all of 2018. Cashner had four wins in 28 starts last year and the Orioles went 8-20 when he was on the mound. He has four wins in seven starts this season and the Orioles are 5-2 in those games.

Cashner allowed six runs in four innings on opening day at Yankee Stadium. Then, over his next five starts, he pitched to an ERA of 2.86 with two quality starts. In his last game, last Wednesday in Chicago, he gave up six hits and five runs (four earned) over four innings versus the White Sox.

Lefty batters have hit just .217 with an OPS of .582 against Cashner. But right-handers have hit .301/.905. In two home starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA. He got a win in his only 2019 start against Boston. On April 13 at Fenway Park, he went five innings, allowing three hits and three runs on 81 pitches.

The Orioles will face left-hander Chris Sale (1-5, 5.25 ERA). Sale will be making his eight start and after some early struggles, seems to be getting his act together.

In his last start on Friday at Chicago, he blanked the White Sox over six innings on three hits with 10 strikeouts. Sale began this year with an ERA of 8.50 after his first four starts. His average fastball velocity was 92.8 mph his first game and then 89.9 and 92.0 mph.

But his velocity has been up in recent games and Sale has an ERA of 2.00 over his last three starts. In that span he has walked six and fanned 28 over 18 innings for a K rate of 14.0. His strikeout rate was 7.0 his first four starts.

He has allowed seven homers over 35 innings and the rate of 1.8 per every nine innings would be a career-worst if maintained. But after allowing four homers his first two starts, he has yielded just three the last five games.

Sale was strong versus the Orioles in 2018, going 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA over four starts with a strikeout rate of 16.1 per nine. In two starts in Baltimore he went 2-0 with an ERA of 0.82. In 18 career games (12 starts) he is 7-2 with a 2.69 ERA against Baltimore with a 1.130 WHIP and strikeout rate of 12.7.

Farm notes: Maybe Double-A Bowie’s offense is finally starting to get going. The Baysox beat Altoona 12-2 today and scored 24 runs in that three-game road series. Eight Baysox had hits and five drove in runs in the win this afternoon. Mason McCoy had four hits, Jesmuel Valentin had three, and T.J Nichting and Alexis Torres each had two. Torres drove in three runs, while McCoy and Carlos Pérez each drove in two.

McCoy went 4-for-5 and is batting .500 (7-for-14) after three games with Bowie. He was hitting .379 with Single-A Frederick before his recent promotion. So he’s hitting .392 in 30 games for the season. Winning pitcher Alex Wells gave up six hits and two runs over five innings. He is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA.

Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Cedric Mullins has reached base safely in 10 of 12 games since joining Norfolk from Baltimore on April 23, posting a .379 OBP over that span. Mullins has hit .294 (15-for-51) with two home runs, six RBIs, seven walks and 10 runs scored over that stretch.

Single-A Delmarva (24-4) takes the best record in all of Minor League Baseball into its game tonight at home versus Greensboro. Delmarva ranks second in the South Atlantic League in team ERA (2.89), first in batting average (.261) and first in fielding percentage (.979). Look for much more in this space Thursday morning on the Shorebirds.

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