O’s game blog: Orioles make first trip to Colorado in 15 years

Trying to snap a season-long six-game losing streak, the Orioles are in Colorado for a three-game weekend series. The Orioles were swept at home in a four-game series by the New York Yankees that ended yesterday. After this quick one-series road trip, they’ll be back at home Monday afternoon.

This series marks just the second trip for the Orioles to Coors Field in Colorado. The O’s only other visit to the park came in June 2004. The Orioles lost the first two games of that series, then won the series finale on June 20. That was a 4-2 victory in which all four runs came by way of a ninth-inning grand slam by second baseman Brian Roberts. Prior to this series, Baltimore was the only major league franchise that had visited Denver only one time in its history.

At 15-35, the Orioles are 11-34 since they began this year going 4-1 versus Toronto and New York. They have lost nine of the last 10, 19 of 24 and 23 of 30. Baltimore is 9-16 on the road, going 2-5-1 in series away from Oriole Park.

The Orioles will play a total of 20 games against National League opponents this season starting with this series. They also will play the San Francisco Giants (May 31-June 2), San Diego Padres (June 25-26, July 29-30), Washington Nationals (July 16-17, Aug. 27-28), Arizona Diamondbacks (July 22-24), and Los Angeles Dodgers (Sept. 10-12).

Since interleague play began in 1997, the Orioles are 190-213 against the NL. The Orioles went 7-13 in interleague play last season and Baltimore’s 14 interleague victories in 2016 were the most in club history.

Means-John-Delivers-at-White-Sox-Gray-Sidebar.jpgLeft-hander John Means (5-4, 2.68 ERA) will make his 12th appearance and eighth start tonight. The Orioles are 3-4 when he starts. Means took the loss Saturday at Cleveland, allowing three runs over five innings. He had given up two runs over 13 innings his previous two starts. He’s allowed one earned run in five of his seven starts.

Means ranks in the American League top 10 (minimum 40 innings pitched) among rookie pitchers in wins (first - five), opponent batting average (third, .217), ERA (third, 2.68), winning percentage (fourth, .556), strikeout-to-walk ratio (fourth, 2.62), opponent slugging percentage (fourth, .379) and strikeouts (ninth, 34).

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Means was the first pitcher to make his first six major league starts for the Orioles and allow fewer than two earned runs in at least five of them since left-hander Steve Barber, who did so in five of his first six starts in 1960.

The Rockies are 22-26 and have lost five of their last seven games. They rank ninth in the NL in runs, sixth in batting average (.251), 10th in OBP (.313) and fourth in slugging (.440). They rank last in the NL in team ERA at 5.01 and last in ERA at home at 6.49, where they are 9-11. Colorado’s team OPS at home of .858 ranks first among all NL teams and second-best in the majors to Houston at .883.

Right-hander Jeff Hoffman (0-1, 7.20) will make his second start of the year for the Rockies. On April 23 versus Washington, he allowed four runs over five innings. This season at Triple-A, Hoffman has gone 3-3 with a 7.57 ERA.

In 38 career games (24 starts) with Colorado since 2016, he is 6-10 with a 5.92 ERA and 1.580 WHIP with an average of four walks/nine innings and 7.2 strikeouts/nine innings. In 23 career games at home, Hoffman is 2-5 with a 7.41 ERA, allowing 12 homers over 81 1/3 innings.

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