O’s game blog: Looking for a series win against Toronto

After a pitchers’ duel last night at Camden Yards, won by the Orioles 4-2 over Toronto, tonight’s game could feature something very different. Two pitchers that have struggled square off in the second game of a three-game series.

Well we think that will be the case. The Orioles start right-hander David Hess (1-8, 7.08 ERA), who is tied for first in the American League in losses and homers allowed.

Toronto was scheduled to start right-hander Edwin Jackson (0-4, 11.90 ERA). Acquired for cash considerations from Oakland on May 11, Toronto is Jackson’s 14th major league organization. But the Jays announced this afternoon that right-handed reliever Derek Law (0-1, 5.89 ERA) will get the start. It’s expected he will be used as an opener and turn the game over to Jackson at some point early on.

hess-david-delivers-white-vs-white-sox-sidebar.jpgHess provided some encouragement with his last outing when he recorded his second quality start. At Texas, he went six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on 90 pitches. His only previous quality start this year came April 1 at Toronto, when he pitched 6 1/3 no-hit innings. Can he shut down the Blue Jays again?

In four career starts, Hess is 2-1 with an ERA of 0.71 versus Toronto. In 25 1/3 innings, he has allowed 12 hits and two earned runs with five walks, 24 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.671.

While Hess can struggle giving up the longball, he has allowed just three homers in his past three starts. In the three preceding that, between May 7-21, he gave up nine. The Orioles are 2-10 in Hess’ 2019 starts, losing six in a row since May 1.

Jackson’s numbers are, in a word, terrible. In five starts for Toronto he has allowed 36 hits, including eight home runs over 19 2/3 innings. His WHIP is 2.237 and he’s giving up an average of 3.7 homers for every nine innings.

Over his past three games, he has yielded seven, 10 and six runs, allowing 19 earned runs and six homers in 9 2/3 innings. Very different from 2018, when he went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 starts for Oakland.

Jackson, 35, spent some time with the Orioles in 2017, pitching at Triple-A Norfolk and briefly with the Orioles. In three games with Baltimore, he had an ERA of 7.20 in five innings.

Toronto (23-43) dropped to 20 games under the .500 mark with Tuesday’s loss. They are 20 under for the first time since Aug. 23, 2002. The Blue Jays have lost five in a row, scoring eight runs total and two runs or less each game. They have also lost 11 of 13 and 15 of the last 18.

A win tonight for the Orioles would provide them their first two-game winning streak since May 4-6, when they beat the Rays and Red Sox. Since then, they have had seven chances at a two-game winning streak. The O’s are also looking for their first series win since April 22-24.

Orioles pitchers have allowed just 17 runs over the past six games. They have five quality starts and a rotation ERA of 2.83 in that span. The bullpen ERA is 1.69 over the past six games. The team ERA has dropped from 5.81 to 5.48, which still ranks last in the American League and is exactly one run per game over the league average of 4.48.

But over the last three games, Baltimore pitchers have allowed just seven runs on 14 hits against Houston and Toronto. Tuesday’s winning pitcher, John Means, has gotten 50 swings and misses on his changeup this season. That is third-most in the major leagues by a lefty with that pitch.

Keys add an All-Star: Single-A Frederick right-hander Luis Perez has been added to the North roster for Tuesday’s Carolina League All-Star Game in Frederick. The Keys now have eight All-Stars, their most since they had nine in 2009. Perez is 3-1 with 2.23 ERA in 17 games. Opponents are hitting .211/.327/.320 against Perez this year to go with a .647 OPS. In 36 1/3 innings, he has walked 17 and struck out 39.

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