O’s game blog: The series finale in Detroit

The Orioles (49-100) have won two of three in Detroit (44-104) and the clubs conclude their series this afternoon at Comerica Park. It will complete a one-series road trip for the Orioles before they return home on Tuesday night.

Baltimore will have 12 games left after this series - six at home versus Toronto and Seattle and six on the road at Toronto and Boston.

The Orioles have hit .281 (32-for-114) in the series in Detroit, scoring 18 runs on three doubles, a triple and four home runs. They are 11-for-25 (.440) with runners in scoring position in the series. O’s batters have homered in nine straight games with 13 total in that span.

The Tigers have lost four of five and 11 of 15 games. They are 20-54 at home, 12-22 when facing a lefty starter, 13-19 against the American League East and 3-3 versus the Orioles.

Baltimore’s bullpen leads the majors with a 2.99 ERA since Aug. 20. In that time, O’s relievers have recorded 95 strikeouts and 34 walks for a 2.79 strikeout/walk ratio, the sixth-best mark in the AL in that span. O’s relievers have allowed one run or less in five of the last six games, pitching to an ERA of 0.89 in those five games.

The Orioles’ Hanser Alberto ranks fourth in the AL and 11th in the majors among qualifying hitters with a .317 batting average. He has struck out just 47 times in 503 plate appearances (480 at-bats) and ranks second in the majors with 10.70 plate appearances per strikeout. If he finishes the season with 50 or fewer strikeouts and at least 500 at-bats, it would mark the 18th time in Orioles history that an O’s batter recorded 50 or fewer strikeouts with 500 or more at-bats, the last coming by Deivi Cruz in 2003 (49 strikeouts, 548 at-bats). In 55 games since the All-Star break, Alberto is hitting .327, tied for the eighth-highest average in the AL and is tied for 17th-best in the majors among qualifying hitters.

John-Means-Delivers-at-TEX-Gray-Sidebar.jpgOn the mound today for the Orioles will be lefty John Means (10-10, 3.47 ERA). Means, who will be making his 25th start, has recorded a WHIP of 1.114 allowing 7.9 hits per nine with 2.2 walks and 7.1 strikeouts.

Means allowed two runs over 6 1/3 in his last start against the Dodgers. Over his past five starts, he is 2-2 with a 2.53 ERA. In 32 innings he has allowed four homers with three walks, 25 strikeouts and a .183 average against.

Means is making his second career start against the Tigers. His only other appearance against Detroit came this season on May 29 at Camden Yards. He did not factor in the decision after allowing one run on three hits, with a career-high seven strikeouts over six innings. He has made seven career starts against the AL Central, all this season, and is 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA.

Detroit’s starter is lefty Tyler Alexander (0-3, 5.40 ERA) who will be making his 11th appearance and sixth start. His last four games came out of the bullpen and he pitched to an ERA of 3.00 over 12 innings with two walks and 12 strikeouts.

For the year, Alexander has thrown 38 1/3 innings and allowed just five walks to 36 strikeouts. He has given up more homers (seven) than walks. His last start came on Aug. 7 against the Chicago White Sox, when he yielded five runs (four earned) over 4 1/3 innings.

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