O’s game blog: Needing a win to avoid being swept

The Orioles need a win this afternoon to avoid being swept four in a row this weekend by the Texas Rangers. They’ve lost in this series by scores of 3-1, 7-6 and 9-4. The Orioles are 0-3 on a seven-game homestand.

The Orioles (49-96) have lost four in a row and seven of the last eight. They are 22-49 at home and 1-5 against Texas. The Orioles went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position last night and are 4-for-33 the last four games.

Ruiz-AB-White-Front-sidebar.jpgO’s third baseman Rio Ruiz recorded his 10th home run of the season with a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning on Saturday. Five of his 10 home runs have come during his last 20 games since being recalled on Aug. 9. He is tied with Hanser Alberto and Jonathan Villar for the most home runs on the team since that date. He also doubled in the sixth inning, his 14th multi-hit game of the year.

Villar has hit safely in four straight games, batting .294 (5-for-17) in this stretch. He is hitting .309 (66-for-213) in 53 games since the All-Star break and entered play with the eighth-most hits in the American League in the second-half.

Outfielder Austin Hays, recalled from Triple-A before Saturday’s game, made his 2019 Orioles debut as a pinch-hitter for Mason Williams in the sixth inning.

On the mound today, the Orioles will start right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (2-7, 5.12 ERA). The 30-year-old Wojciechowski will make his 13th start. The Orioles are 3-9 when he takes the mound, losing the past four games.

For the year, he has allowed 78 hit in 65 innings, allowing 7.8 hits per nine innings, 2.2 homers, 3.3 walks and 9.1 strikeouts. He has allowed a homer in eight straight games with 12 coming in that span. In seven home games, he is 1-3 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.273 WHIP.

Lefty Mike Minor (12-8, 3.12 ERA) will make his 29th start for Texas. He ranks fourth in the AL in ERA and was a 2019 AL All-Star. Minor has thrown three scoreless starts in his last six games, going 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA. He blanked the Yankees for 7 1/3 innings on Monday as Texas beat New York 7-0, snapping a streak where the Yankees had scored in 220 consecutive regular season games.

Minor threw 111 pitches in that game. For the year, he’s thrown 100 or more pitches in 21 of 28 starts, including the last nine in a row. Texas is 15-13 in his games in 2019.

Texas has not swept a four-game series against the Orioles since July 2001. The Rangers have not swept four in a row in Baltimore since July 7-9, 1972 at Memorial Stadium. That three-day series included a doubleheader on the second day of the series.

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