The soon-to-be National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers (93-52) are in Baltimore tonight to begin a three-game interleague series. The Dodgers have a magic number of one to clinch their seventh straight NL West crown and officially advance to the playoffs. With a lead of 17 1/2 games over Arizona, it’s been in the bag for a while and now it’s about to become official with their next win or Diamondbacks loss.
On the mound facing them tonight is lefty Ty Blach (1-2, 10.95 ERA). He is coming off his best Orioles outing when he got the win in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday on the road against Tampa Bay. In that 4-2 win he went five innings, allowing two hits and two runs with four walks and two strikeouts over 75 pitches.
In his first three starts with Baltimore, he posted an ERA of 12.15 and gave up three homers over 13 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Walker Buehler (12-3, 3.28 ERA) gets the start for the Dodgers, his 27th. He is coming off a poor one where he allowed six runs and eight hits over five innings Monday at home against Colorado. But in three of his previous four games, he threw scoreless starts.
Buehler finished third in the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year voting and he was an NL All-Star this season. The Dodgers are 17-9 when he gets the starts. He has never faced the Orioles.
Buehler ranks fifth in the NL in WHIP (1.036), tied for seventh in wins, tied for ninth in strikeouts (190), 11th in ERA and 18th in innings (159 1/3). In 13 road starts he is 6-3 with a 4.01 ERA and at home this year he’s gone 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA.
Los Angeles has gone an outstanding 56-20 at home on the season and 37-32 on the road. The Dodgers have the best record in the NL and the second-best run differential in MLB at +233, behind only Houston at +255.
Los Angeles ranks first in the NL and third in the majors in homers, setting a National League record with 255. The Minnesota Twins lead MLB with 275 and the New York Yankees have hit 270. Los Angeles has a win percentage of .705 (79-33) when hitting at least one homer and .424 (14-19) when they do not homer. The Dodgers are 3-3 all-time at OPACY and making their first trip here since 2013.
The Orioles’ Jonathan Villar is one of six players in the majors to appear in each of their team’s games this season. The last Orioles player to appear in every game was second baseman Jonathan Schoop (162 games), who did so in 2016. Since 2015, Orioles players have appeared in at least 160 games four times. That list includes Schoop (160 games in 2017 and 162 in 2016), Manny Machado (162 games in 2015) and Chris Davis (160 games in 2015).
Bowie at Trenton tonight: Right-hander Michael Baumann (6-2, 2.31 ERA) gets the start as Double-A Bowie plays at Trenton tonight in Game 1 of the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series. Bowie is expected to face three pitchers on MLB rehab stints in tonight’s game. Lefty Jordan Montgomery is expected to start for Trenton and go three innings or so. Also scheduled to pitch an inning tonight for Trenton are relievers Dellin Betances and Stephen Tarpley. Bowie, which won the Eastern League title in 2015, is looking for its second league title in team history.