O’s game blog: John Means faces Detroit

With five wins their last seven games and a record of 8-5 since the All-Star break, the Orioles head back to Comerica Park tonight for the third of a four-game series with Detroit. The Tigers won 6-2 Thursday night and the Orioles won 4-3 last night.

Pedro Severino hit solo homers in the third and fifth innings Friday for an O’s team that has hit 16 home runs its last eight games. It was the second multi-home run game of his career in addition to his three-homer game on June 4, 2019 at Texas. Severino has hits in seven of his last nine games, over which he’s batting .333/.400/.767. It was the 20th multi-homer game by a catcher this season in the majors, 14th by an American League catcher. It was the O’s 11th multi-homer game, the fourth-most by a team in the AL and the sixth-most in the majors.

Right-hander Matt Harvey continued his scoreless run to three consecutive starts and has now thrown 18 1/3 innings without allowing a run to begin the second half. In that span, he has allowed 10 hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. He is now 6-10 with a 6.20 ERA, lowering it from 7.70 during this stretch.

According to STATS, no O’s starter has ever thrown more than three straight scoreless starts of six innings or more. Here is the list of Orioles to do it three consecutive times:

* Jack Fisher, 1960
* Milt Pappas, 1964
* Tom Phoebus, 1967
* Jim Palmer, 1978
* Fernando Valenzuela, 1993
* Kevin Gausman, 2016
* Matt Harvey, 2021

Harvey’s run is the longest active scoreless streak in the majors. It is the first time in his career that he has worked three straight scoreless outings, and the 18 1/3 innings mark is also a career best, eclipsing his two 16-inning streaks in 2015 while with the New York Mets.

For his career, Harvey has a 3.61 ERA following the All-Star break, compared to a 4.58 ERA prior to the break.

The Orioles’ win Friday snapped Detroit’s 10-game home winning streak, and the Tigers had won their previous three games while scoring 29 runs. Detroit (50-56) was 29-42 on June 19, but is 21-14 since and 10-5 since the All-Star Game. The Tigers are 29-23 at Comerica Park.

The Orioles (36-66), who are 2-1-1 in four series since the break, have won their last three games decided by one run. They beat Washington 5-4 with Sunday’s walk-off win and posted an 8-7 walk-off win Wednesday over Miami. And they held off Detroit late for the 4-3 win last night.

Tonight left-hander John Means (4-3, 2.94 ERA) will make his 15th start and third since coming off the injured list. In his last two games versus Tampa Bay and Washington, Means has allowed nine runs and 12 hits in 11 2/3 innings.

Means-Delivers-Gray-MIN-Sidebar.jpgIn nine road starts, Means is 3-2 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.763 WHIP. His homer rate of 1.25 per nine innings on the road is much improved from a mark of 2.88 at Camden Yards.

In fact, this year Means is more likely to give up a homer than issue a walk. He has allowed 1.7 homers for every nine innings pitched and just 1.5 walks per nine. Since his no-hitter on May 5, Means has walked just four (with 35 strikeouts) over 45 2/3 innings, a walk rate of 0.8 in that span. He has allowed 11 homers over this stretch.

Means made the 50th start of his career on July 20 at Tampa Bay. His 1.038 WHIP is the lowest among all Baltimore starters through their first 50 career starts, and his 106 earned runs are the second-lowest, while his 221 strikeouts through 50 career starts are the eighth-most.

Right-hander Matt Manning (2-3, 6.00 ERA), the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2016, will become the second first-round pick pitcher the O’s will have faced in this series after they battled Casey Mize on Thursday. Manning was selected No. 9 overall out of a Sacramento, Calif. high school and was signed to a $3.5 million bonus.

Manning was the 2019 Double-A Eastern League Pitcher of the Year, when he went 11-5 with a 2.56 ERA at Erie. This year, despite a mark of 1-3 and 8.07 ERA at Triple-A, he got called up in mid-June. Since then he has made seven starts for the Tigers. Over 33 innings, he has allowed 36 hits with 11 walks and 17 strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 1.424, has allowed 9.8 hits per nine with 3.0 walks and 4.6 strikeouts. The Tigers are 3-4 in his seven games.

Manning pitched in the All-Star Futures Game in both 2018 and 2019 and was ranked in the Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com top 100 lists every year from 2017 through this year. In the Baseball America midseason top 100 released recently, Manning is the No. 67 prospect. While he is unranked currently by MLBPipeline.com in its top 100, he is the Tigers’ No. 3 prospect according to both outlets.

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