O’s game blog: Spenser Watkins faces Marlins in series opener

The Orioles have won two of three series since the All-Star break, going 6-3 in those games. And we know they were an out away - a strike away, really - from that being three of three with a 7-2 record.

So they have some momentum going as they host the Miami Marlins tonight to open a two-game series to conclude a five-game homestand. The Orioles swept the Washington Nationals by scores of 6-1, 5-3 and 5-4. They scored twice in the last of the ninth Sunday to record the walk-off win.

It was the club’s third walk-off win of the year following two much earlier. They beat Seattle 7-6 on April 13 on a Ramón Urías single and beat the Yankees 4-3 on April 29 on Cedric Mullins’ game-ending sac fly.

The Orioles (34-64) were 0-51 when trailing after eight innings until Sunday’s win. They are now 16-30 at home. They scored 16 runs, hitting seven solo homers, in the Nationals series and have scored 42 runs over the last eight games. They have hit 10 home runs since the All-Star break - all solo homers.

Thumbnail image for Mancini-Celebrates-HR-White-Sidebar.jpgTrey Mancini mashed a 455-foot homer in the first inning, his 18th of the year. He has homered in back-to-back games for the third time this year and the 13th time in his career. It was the second-longest home run of his career, trailing a 459-foot homer on July 20, 2017. That was the longest home run by an Oriole since Jonathan Villar hit one 456 feet on May 27, 2019 and tied for the 12th-longest at Oriole Park since 2015. Mancini has now recorded multiple hits in five of his past nine games and extended his hitting streak to a season-high-tying eight games. He is batting .394 (13-for-33) with two doubles, two home runs, three RBIs and eight runs scored during this span.

Miami (43-57) is coming off a four-game series split with San Diego. But over longer stretches, the Marlins have lost six of nine and 10 of 15 games. They are 19-34 on the road, 2-10 versus American League East teams and 1-1 against the Orioles. Of their 57 losses, 34 have come by one or two runs with 21 one-run losses.

Right-hander Spenser Watkins (2-0, 1.65 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Orioles tonight, pitching on seven days’ rest. He has allowed one run each in his first three starts, going five innings July 6 against Toronto, 4 1/3 innings on July 11 against the Chicago White Sox and six innings last Monday on 92 pitches versus the Tampa Bay Rays.

For the year, he has allowed 11 hits and three runs over 16 1/3 innings with a 1.163 WHIP, allowing 6.1 hits per nine with 4.4 walks and 7.2 strikeouts. He has used his fastball 51 percent at an average velocity of 90.1 mph while throwing his cutter 28 percent and curveball 19 percent.

Lefty batters have just two hits in 24 at-bats with nine strikeouts against Watkins for an average of .083 with an OPS against of .325. Right-handed batters hit .300/.838 (9-for-30) against him. The Orioles are 2-1 in his starts.

Right-hander Sandy Alcantara (5-9, 3.23 ERA) gets the start for Miami. For the season, he has allowed 101 hits in 119 2/3 innings with 37 walks and 105 strikeouts. He has recorded a WHIP of 1.153 with a 2.8 walk rate and 7.9 strikeout rate. The Marlins are 8-12 when he starts. Over his past two games, he has allowed eight runs and 11 hits in seven innings.

Lefty batters hit .236 with an OPS of .694 against him while right-handed hitters are batting .216/.579.

The O’s will play in their 13th interleague game tonight, having gone 5-7 in their first 12 games. They are 1-1 against Miami, 1-3 versus the New York Mets and 3-3 against the Nationals. The O’s will match up with the Marlins for the second time this season after splitting a two-game set in Miami April 20-21.

All-time, the O’s have gone 9-27 against the Marlins, including 6-13 at Oriole Park.

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