O’s game blog: John Means pitches series finale

After exchanging victories the last two nights, the Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks wrap up their three-game series this afternoon at Chase Field. Arizona won 6-3 Monday and the Orioles hit three homers in a 7-2 win last night.

The Orioles (32-68) have played 100 games and have 62 to go in the 2019 season. They are 4-2 over their last six games and 10-10 in the past 20. They are 17-32 on the road. This current trip moves on to Anaheim and San Diego after today’s game.

The Orioles got homers from Renato Núñez (solo), Anthony Santander (two-run) and Dwight Smith Jr. (three-run) last night. Baltimore batters have hit two or more homers in six straight games, a season-high streak, hitting 14 in that span. The Orioles have scored 41 runs in those six games.

Baltimore pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in four of their last six and five of the last 10 games. Over the past three games, the Baltimore bullpen has thrown nine scoreless innings.

Means-Pitching-Back-at-TB-Gray-Sidebar.jpgLeft-hander John Means (8-5, 2.95 ERA) will make his 21st appearance and 17th start this afternoon. In his first start after the All-Star break, Means allowed six runs and three homers in six innings against the Rays.

But then Means shut down a hot-hitting Boston team at Camden Yards last Friday night. Over six innings he allowed four hits and two runs on 102 pitches in an 11-2 win. Means slowed down a Boston team that was 14-2 in its previous 16 road games, 19-10 in its last 29 overall and led the majors in runs per game at 5.64.

The American League All-Star had a 2.50 ERA at the break, the best ever by an Orioles rookie. Means has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts. If he had enough innings to qualify for league leaders (he is 5 1/3 short) he would rank third in the American League in ERA.

Over his past eight starts, Means is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA. In 46 innings he has allowed nine walks and notched 36 strikeouts, and has allowed this line to hitters: .215/.258/.378. The Orioles are 7-9 in Means’ 2019 starts.

Right-hander Taylor Clarke (2-3, 6.50 ERA) will make his 12th outing and 11th start for the D-backs. Over 45 2/3 innings he has given up 56 hits and 11 homers, recording 19 walks to 32 strikeouts. He has a 1.642 WHIP and allows 2.2 homers per nine innings with 3.7 walks and 6.3 strikeouts.

Drafted in round three out of the College of Charleston in 2015, Clarke has worked five innings or less in eight consecutive starts. He has given up seven runs in 7 1/3 his past two games. Over his last four games his ERA is 8.80 and he’s allowed five homers in 15 1/3 innings with a .344 average against and OPS allowed of 1.122. Arizona is 5-5 in his starts.

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