After a stretch of playing 13 straight games against American League East teams, the Orioles begin a two-game home series against the New York Mets tonight. This begins a stretch of 12 straight games through Sept. 13 against New York teams. They will meet the Mets four times and play the Yankees eight times.
The Orioles went 3-10 in the stretch of games against Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto. They are 8-13 this season against AL clubs and 7-6 versus the National League. They are 7-2 against the NL since being swept in four straight by Miami.
The Orioles (15-19) are in fourth place in the AL East, 3 1/2 games behind Toronto for the No. 8 playoff seed. The Mets (15-20) are in fourth in the NL East, two games behind Colorado for the No. 8 NL playoff seed.
The Mets lost 5-3 to Miami on Monday and have lost four in a row by six total runs. New York began the year at 3-7 and has gone 12-13 since that point. The Mets were 3-5 in July and went 12-15 in August. In a somewhat random stat, the Mets have been outscored 20-9 in the first inning this year and it’s their worst inning.
Looking to pitch deeper into his outings, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (1-3, 5.13 ERA) will get the start for Baltimore. He gave up three runs over four innings last Wednesday against Tampa Bay. He has an ERA of 6.39 over his past three starts. In four home starts, he is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA and has allowed 2.9 homers every nine innings.
While lefty batters hit just .240 but with an OPS of .819 against him, right-handed batters are hitting .300/.933. He throws his fastball 41 percent of the time, down from 54 percent last year, at an average velocity of 91 mph. Wojciechowski has thrown his slider 28 percent and his cutter 23 percent.
Right-hander Ariel Jurado will make his season and organization debut for the Mets. They acquired him on Aug. 5 from Texas for a player to be named later and cash. Jurado, who went 7-11 with an ERA of 5.81 for the Rangers last year, had been designated for assignment.
In 2019, lefty batters hit .281 with an .815 OPS off him and right-handers batted .324/.930. In the first inning, his ERA was 5.40. It was 9.00 in the second inning and 8.10 in the third. Batters facing him for the first time in a game hit .338 with an OPS of 1.004 off Jurado.
Maybe some first-pitch swinging will work for the Orioles tonight. Last year, Jurado gave up a .400 batting average (24-for-60) with an OPS of 1.127 on the first pitch. As a team, the Orioles currently lead the majors, batting .424 when putting the first pitch in play.
Shortstop José Iglesias went 2-for-5 on Monday at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field and is now hitting .405 (30-for-74) through his first 20 games with the Orioles. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Iglesias is just the fourth player in O’s history to hit at least .400 through their first 20 games with the team (minimum 50 at-bats). He joined Frank Robinson in 1966 (30-for-74, .405), David Newhan in 2004 (30-for-74, .405) and Tim Beckham in 2017 (36-for-85, .424). Among players with at least 50 at-bats, Iglesias’ .405 average leads the majors.
Iglesias has produced a multi-hit game in five straight games, matching his career high. He is 11-for-24 (.458) during this stretch. He is batting .361 (13-for-36) with two strikes and that is the highest average in the major leagues with two strikes. He is batting .476 (10-for-21) with runners in scoring position and that is the third-highest average in the majors. He’s batting .440 (22-for-50) in 12 road games and batting .538 (7-for-13) against left-handers.