O’s game blog: The final homestand begins

After going 2-2 at Detroit in a one-series road trip, the Orioles are back at Oriole Park tonight. They host Toronto in Game 1 of a three-game series and six-game homestand to wrap up the 2019 home season.

The Orioles (49-101) have 12 games remaining. They are 3-3 over the last six games but 4-11 in September. They are 21-46 versus the American League East and 7-6 against Toronto. The Blue Jays are the only division team the Birds hold a winning record over. The Orioles are 23-52 at home and 14-34 in series-opening games.

Toronto (59-91) began September with a seven-game losing streak, but has gone 4-2 over its past six games. They took two of three from both Boston and New York on their last homestand. The Blue Jays are 25-39 against the AL East and 25-35 since the All-Star Game.

Oriole-Park-at-Camden-Yards-TOR-BAL-2019-Sidebar.jpgOn the mound tonight, right-hander Chandler Shepherd (0-0, 3.86 ERA) will make his first major league start. He’s made two relief outings for the Orioles. The last was Sept. 7 versus Texas, when he went three innings, allowing three hits and two runs.

Acquired on waivers from the Chicago Cubs on May 22, the 27-year-old Shepherd made 14 outings for Triple-A Norfolk. He went 3-5 with a 4.60 ERA, allowing 75 hits over 72 1/3 innings with 23 walks and 73 strikeouts.

Shepherd was named the International League Player of the Month for August. In five starts for the Tides, he was 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA. Over 33 1/3 innings, he gave up 21 hits with nine walks, 30 strikeouts, a .181 average against and 0.90 WHIP.

Right-hander Trent Thornton (5-9, 5.04 ERA) will make his 29th start for Toronto. In his last game on Wednesday, he threw five scoreless innings without allowing a hit against Boston. Over his past six games, he has pitched to an ERA of 3.23. In 16 road starts, he is 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA.

He has made three starts this year versus the Orioles, going 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA. Over 17 innings, he has given up 15 hits but no homers with three walks and 11 strikeouts.

Hall of Famer in the house: Ravens Hall of Famer Ed Reed is at Camden Yards today and threw out tonight’s first pitch before the series opener. He threw a heater right down the middle to Mychal Givens. He also took some batting practice and grounders during pregame.

“When the O’s made the run in 2012 we were coming to the games and supporting each other as we do and I tweeted to the fans, ‘Let’s ride this wave to playoffs.’ We did that and won the Super Bowl,” Reed said.

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