O’s game blog: John Means pitches Boston series opener

The Orioles’ homestand continues this weekend as they host the Boston Red Sox for three games beginning tonight. The Orioles (29-66) went 1-3 against Tampa Bay and 1-1 against Washington to begin the homestand.

The Orioles are 2-5 their past seven games but 7-8 over the last 15 games. Over longer stretches, they have lost 25 of 35 and 37 of the last 51 games. Baltimore is 9-22 in series-opening games. The Orioles are 14-29 versus American League East teams and 3-7 against Boston, including a mark of 1-5 at home.

The O’s have scored 60 runs and allowed 60 against their opponents in the first inning. They are hitting .255/.329/.482 during the first frame and their .812 first-inning OPS ranks fourth in the AL and 11th in the majors. The O’s 60 runs scored in the first ranks fourth in the AL and tied for eighth in the majors, and Baltimore’s 19 first-inning homers are tied for fourth in the AL and tied for seventh in the majors.

Chris Davis snapped a 0-for-14 stretch to start the second half with his 2-for-4 game on Wednesday against the Nationals. He’s batting .286 (8-for-28) with two home runs and six RBIs in nine games in July.

Martin-Richie-Throws-Gray-at-Twins-Sidebar.jpgShortstop Richie Martin snapped a 0-for-24 stretch with a single in his final at-bat on Wednesday. For Martin, 11 of his 31 hits have been for extra bases, with five doubles, two triples and four home runs.

Since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on June 7, Anthony Santander is tied for first on the team in RBIs (17), second in hits (34), tied for third in runs scored (15) and ranks tied for fifth in extra-base hits (nine). He’s batting .333 (22-for-66) in 17 home games, compared to .210 (13-for-62) in 17 road games.

Boston (53-44) is in third in the AL East, 10 games back of New York. The Red Sox trail Oakland and Tampa Bay by two games for the second AL wild card spot. The Red Sox are 9-4 in their last 13 games, 19-10 in their last 29, and 42-27 (.609) since April 29.

The Red Sox lead the majors in runs (547), runs per game (5.64), batting average (.273), and OBP (.347). They have homered in 17 of their last 18 games, hitting 31. The Sox have scored in the first inning in 12 of their last 17 games, scoring 30 first-inning runs total in that time.

Left-hander John Means (7-5, 2.94 ERA) will make the start for Baltimore tonight. In Game 2 of the doublheader on Saturday, he gave up six runs and eight hits over six innings against the Rays. In his previous six games he had gone 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA allowing two homers in 34 innings. But he gave up a season-high three homers on Saturday.

Left-hander David Price (7-2, 3.16 ERA) will make the start for Boston. In 17 starts for the year he has a WHIP of 1.155 and averages 2.4 walks per nine and 10.4 strikeouts. In his career, Price is 16-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 29 starts versus the Orioles.

Among all Red Sox with at least 10 starts versus the Orioles, he owns the lowest WHIP (0.76). The next-closest within that group is Pedro Martinez (1.03). Since 2015 as a member of the Red Sox, Price is 8-1 with a 2.65 ERA, a .177 opponent average and a 0.76 WHIP in 10 starts against Baltimore.

Updated top 100: Baseball America today released an update top 100 prospects list with four Orioles on the list, even with Ryan Mountcastle having dropped out. For the first time, Baseball America has added 2019 draft picks and seven made the list, none higher than catcher Adley Rutschman of the Orioles, who is ranked No. 5. Pitcher DL Hall is at No. 41, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez i sat No. 53 and outfielder Yusniel Diaz No. 86. The list is here.

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