O’s game blog: Wojciechowski vs. Cole in series opener

After two days and two games postponed against Miami, the Orioles’ season resumes tonight with their home opener. They host the New York Yankees tonight and tomorrow at Oriole Park.

The Orioles scored 14 runs in winning the last two games of the Boston series and they are 2-1. So are the Yankees, who have had games with Philadelphia postponed this week. New York opened its season winning two of three at Washington. The Tampa Bay Rays begin today in first in the American League East at 4-1.

Wojciechowski-Winds-Up-White-Sidebar.jpgRight-hander Asher Wojciechowski will make his 2020 season debut for the Orioles. In 17 games last season, he went 4-8 with a 4.92 ERA. Over 82 1/3 innings he allowed 80 hits with a 1.312 WHIP. He gave up 1.9 homers per nine innings with a 3.1 walk rate and 8.7 strikeouts. He’ll be pitching with some extra rest, as he was originally scheduled to start Monday at Miami.

In his four wins last summer, Wojciechowski went 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He gave up just one homer in 25 1/3 innings in those four games. In two career games against New York, he is 0-1 with an 9.00 ERA.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole makes the start for New York. He made his second opening day start last Thursday at Washington and got a win in a game shortened to five innings by rain. He allowed just one run and hit with one walk and five strikeouts on 75 pitches.

In 2019 for Houston, Cole went 20-5 with an AL-best 2.50 ERA. Over 212 1/3 innings he walked 48 and struck out a majors-leading 326. He finished second to teammate Justin Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award. Cole is a three-time All-Star. In five postseason starts he went 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA last fall.

Since the 2018 season, Cole is 36-10 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.955 WHIP. He averaged 2.4 walks and 13.1 strikeouts per nine in that span. His teams have gone 51-15 (.773) in his starts since 2018.

Cole has not taken a loss since May 27, 2019, when he gave up six runs against the Chicago White Sox. Since then he is 17-0 with a 1.78 ERA over 23 starts. His teams have won his past 14 starts since July 12, 2019, when Houston lost at Texas. In those 14 games, Cole is 12-0 with a 1.52 ERA.

So the O’s task is huge tonight against Cole. He is 0-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts versus Baltimore. The Orioles did get three runs off Cole last year when he got a no-decision over seven innings. That was June 7, and Cole walked one and fanned 14 Orioles in that game, allowing just one earned run. He gave up three runs or more in just nine of his 33 starts in 2019.

The Yankees won the AL East last year, going 103-59, a season after they won 100 games. Their AL East title was their first since the 2012 season and their 103 wins were their most since 2009.

The Orioles were just 2-17 versus the Yankees a season ago. After taking two of three in late March at New York, they lost 16 in a row to the Yankees. They went 0-10 at home. New York hit 61 homers and scored 151 runs (7.9/game) in the season series.

So the O’s have lost 16 in a row overall to New York since a win on March 31, 2019. They have also lost 15 consecutive home games versus the Yankees since a win on July 10, 2018.

O’s pitchers have not issued a walk since the eighth inning of the season-opener. So the staff has not issued a walk in consecutive games for the first time since May 16-17, 2015 versus the Los Angeles Angels. The Orioles’ record is three straight games without issuing a walk, from July 1-3, 1980.

Baltimore shortstop José Iglesias went 4-for-5 with two doubles to match a career high with four hits on Sunday. It marked his fifth time with four hits. Iglesias has begun the season with seven hits. He is the eighth different O’s hitter to amass at least seven hits in the team’s first three games of a season, joining Chris Davis (seven in 2013), Adam Jones (seven in 2013), Brady Anderson (eight in 1997, seven in 1993), Ray Knight (seven in 1987), Paul Blair (eight in 1975), Don Baylor (seven in 1973), and Billy Gardner (eight in 1957).

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