O’s game blog: The final home series of the year begins

The Seattle Mariners (65-88) have won five in a row and seven of nine games as they arrive in Baltimore tonight for their final road series of the year and the Orioles’ final home series. Seattle comes to Baltimore from Pittsburgh where they swept a three-game series by scores of 6-0, 4-1 and 6-5, the latter in 11 innings.

Seattle began this year going 13-2, but is 52-86 since then. They are 18-20 over their last 38 games. The M’s are 32-46 on the road and 53-21 when scoring at least five runs. They took two of three against the Orioles at home in late June.

Of the current 36 players on Seattle’s roster, 23 are playing in their age 27 season or younger. The Mariners have 17 rookies on their active roster.

The Orioles (49-104) started this last homestand by losing three straight to the Toronto Blue Jays. In those games they were outscored 20-7 from the seventh inning on. The Baltimore bullpen allowed 22 hits and 20 runs (18 earned) in 11 2/3 innings in the series.

Mancini-HR-Swing-TOR-White-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles’ Trey Mancini, today named 2019 Most Valuable Oriole, is batting .366 (26-for-71) with six doubles, five home runs, 11 runs and 19 RBIs in 18 games during the month of September. Mancini ranks among American League leaders in RBIs (T-1st), hits (T-3rd), doubles (T-3rd), extra-base hits (11, T-6th), average (7th), OPS (1.067, 10th) and home runs (T-10th) during the month.

Mancini leads the club with 34 homers and 35 doubles. He is one of six players in the majors, and three in the AL, with 34-or-more home runs and 34-or-more doubles. If Mancini finishes the season with at least 35 home runs and 35 doubles, it would be the seventh such season in O’s (Rafael Palmeiro 1996 and 1998, Brady Anderson 1996, Albert Belle 1999, Chris Davis 2013, and Manny Machado 2016).

Baltimore’s Hanser Alberto ranks fourth in the AL and 12th in the majors among qualifying hitters with a .312 batting average. He has struck out just 48 times in 517 plate appearances and ranks first in the majors with 10.77 plate appearances per strikeout. In 58 games since the All-Star Break, Alberto is hitting .317.

Lefty Richard Bleier (3-0, 5.63 ERA) will be the Orioles opener tonight and is expected to be followed to the mound by right-hander Aaron Brooks (5-8, 6.06 ERA). Bleier will be making his first start after 159 MLB relief appearances. He has gone 3-0 with an ERA of 3.68 since the All-Star break after going 0-0 with a 7.27 ERA before the break.

Right-hander Félix Hernández (1-6, 6.31 ERA), the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, gets the start for Seatle. In his last game he gave up just one run over seven innings against the White Sox. But two starts ago he allowed 11 runs (seven earned) in two innings versus Houston. He is 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA in eight career starts at Oriole Park.

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