O’s game blog: Trying to build on Friday’s win at Oakland

With back-to-back one-run wins over the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics under their belt, the Orioles take the field today at Oakland looking to move to within a game of the .500 mark. It’s the second game of a three-game series and six-game trip to face the top two clubs in the American League West.

With Friday’s 3-2 win over Oakland, the Orioles (12-14) improved to 8-4 in road games. Their .667 road winning percentage is tied for the second-highest in the AL and tied for fourth-best in the majors. The O’s have a team ERA of 2.84 on the road, the second-lowest in the AL and majors behind Boston at 2.58. The O’s have averaged 3.8 runs per game on the road and 3.5 at home. They have a plus-9 run differential on the road and a minus-22 at home.

They are 5-4 in series-opening games, winning four of their five road series-opening games.

Harvey-Delivers-Orange-Fenway-Sidebar.jpgOrioles pitching continues to be solid. O’s pitchers have allowed 20 runs the last six games (going 4-2) and 44 over the past 14 (going 7-7). In that 14-game span, their team ERA is 3.10, lowering their season mark to 4.01, which ranks eighth in the AL. The Orioles bullpen recorded two scoreless innings in the win. It has pitched to a 1.44 ERA over the last 14 games. The ‘pen ERA for the year is 2.81 to rank as the fifth-best in the major leagues.

2.24 - New York Yankees
2.35 - Seattle
2.52 - Toronto
2.61 - Cleveland
2.81 - Orioles

Lefty John Means allowed three hits and two runs over seven innings to improve to 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA. That ERA ranks as the fourth-best in the AL. Means has allowed just five hits and three runs over 13 1/3 innings in back-to-back starts against first-place Oakland.

A’s batters have hit just .114 (5-for-44) in games against Means last Sunday and last night. Means is 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA in four road starts. In his last 10 starts dating to last Sept. 8, Means is 5-1 with a 1.63 ERA. Over 60 2/3 innings in that span, during which he has allowed one run or none eight times, he has walked 13 and struck out 68.

Right-hander Matt Harvey (2-1, 4.26) followed a strong Means start with one of his own in his last game and will try to do that again today. Harvey went six innings Monday in a win over the Yankee, allowing one run and three hits on 84 pitches. For the season, Harvey has thrown 25 1/3 innings with six walks and 21 strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 1.303 while allowing 9.6 hits per nine innings with 2.1 walks and 7.5 strikeouts.

Lefty batters are hitting .167 with a .483 OPS off Harvey while right-handers are batting .318/.836. He allows an average against of .231 when pitching with runners in scoring position.

Left-hander Jesús Luzardo (1-2, 5.40 ERA) gets the start for the Athletics. He faced the Orioles and Means last Sunday in Baltimore and took that loss. Over 6 2/3 innings he gave up seven hits and three runs with two walks and eight strikeouts, throwing 101 pitches. Luzardo had an 8.31 ERA after his first three starts, but has lowered that to 2.25 his past two games,

Oakland is 3-2 in his outings this year, and 9-5 in his 14 career starts.

Luzardo has twice been ranked among the top 10 prospects in the sport by Baseball America. He was the No. 7 prospect before the 2019 season and No. 9 before 2020. He averages 95.4 mph on his fastball, which he throws 63 percent. He throws his changeup 19 percent and slider 18 percent.

A note from the farm: The O’s are expected to send out No. 2 prospect Grayson Rodriguez as opening day starter for high Single-A Aberdeen and No. 4 prospect DL Hall to start for Double-A Bowie.

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