The Orioles will turn to their 2019 All-Star pitcher, left-hander John Means, as they try to end a long losing streak versus the New York Yankees. The teams play tonight to end a brief two-game series.
New York got homers from DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks last night in a 9-3 win. The Yankees built an early 5-1 lead after three innings and never trailed in improving to 3-1, while the Orioles fell to 2-2.
The Orioles have lost 17 in a row against New York since their last win on March 31, 2019 in last season’s first series. They have lost 16 in a row at home to the Yankees since their last win at Oriole Park on July 10, 2018.
Means was activated today off the injured list and reliever Cody Carroll was optioned to the Bowie alternate site. Means began the year on the IL with left shoulder fatigue. When he finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting last season, he went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA. He threw 155 innings with a 1.135 WHIP and gave up 1.4 homers per nine innings with 2.2 walks and 7.0 strikeouts. The Orioles went 12-15 in his starts last summer and were 5-2 over his last seven.
Means was strong at home in 2019. In 18 games at Camden Yards, he was 8-5 with a 2.74 ERA. He posted a WHIP of 0.978 and allowed 1.1 homers per nine innings at the ballpark, fewer than in his overall stats. Lefty batters hit .184 off Means with an OPS against of .556. Those numbers were .249 and .746 against right-handed hitters.
In five games (two starts) against the Yankees, Means went 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA, allowing 18 hits and 11 runs over 13 innings. In his two starts only, he was 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs over 7 1/3 innings.
Manager Brandon Hyde said Means will likely pitch three or four innings tonight. He’s not yet fully built up after his stay on the IL.
Lefty J.A. Happ makes his season debut for New York. In 2019, he went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA over 161 1/3 innings. He allowed 8.9 hits per nine with 1.9 home runs, 2.7 walks and 7.8 strikeouts. In 15 games on the road last year, Happ went 5-2 with a 4.81 ERA.
In five games last season against the Orioles, he was 2-1 with a 6.85 ERA and gave up seven homers in 22 1/3 innings. In 25 career games (24 starts) versus the Orioles, he is 9-7 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.260 WHIP.
Since the start of the 2019 season, O’s infielder Hanser Alberto leads the majors with 91 hits off left-handed pitching, 23 more than then the next player on the list. In that time, he also leads the majors with a .404 average against lefties. Alberto’s 88 hits off lefties in 2019 were the most in the majors and the most in Orioles history, surpassing the 73 by Rafael Palmeiro in 1998. His 88 hits off left-handers were the most in the majors since Tony Gwynn had 90 such hits in 1987
Based on 2019 winning percentages, the Orioles own the second-toughest strength of schedule in the AL and are tied for third-toughest in the majors.
.534 - Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins
.532 - Orioles, Colorado Rockies.
The Orioles will play four of last year’s 10 postseason teams in 2020.