O’s game blog: Alexander Wells faces the Yankees in the Bronx

The Orioles are back in the Bronx tonight for the second of a three-game series with the New York Yankees. They won 7-1 last night, getting four solo homers and a strong outing from Jorge López. They improved to 38-67 overall, to 3-2 on this road trip and to 5-6 this season against the Yankees, including a 5-4 mark in the last nine games.

The Orioles have won three of four and seven of their past 10 games. They are 10-6 since the All-Star break.

The Orioles have hit 22 homers since the break and 20 have been solo shots. They got four solo homers last night as Cedric Mullins (No. 18), Austin Hays (No. 11), Ryan Mountcastle (No. 18) and Ramón Urías (No. 5) all connected. It was the third time this year the Orioles hit four or more in one game. They had six on June 19 versus Toronto and four on June 29 at Houston.

The four home runs at Yankee Stadium matched an O’s club record, marking the ninth time doing so and first since April 6, 2018. The O’s held the Yankees to three hits, their fewest at Yankee Stadium since the Orioles held them to three on Sept. 30, 2016, which was also the last game when the O’s held the Yankees to just one run in New York.

The Orioles went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position last night, their first win while going 0-for-11 or worse with RISP since Sept. 1, 2017 at Toronto (0-for-11). The O’s won that game 1-0 in 13 innings and the Blue Jays went 0-for-13 with RISP. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, last night was the 12th time the Orioles won a game while going 0-for-11 or worse with RISP in the Expansion Era (since 1961). The seven runs scored were the most by the Orioles in a game in which they went 0-for-11 or worse with RISP in the Expansion Era.

On the mound tonight will be rookie lefty Alexander Wells (1-1, 5.28 ERA) who will be making his third start. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay and went five innings at Detroit, allowing seven hits and four runs on 90 pitches. The Orioles lost both those games.

Wells’ fastball, which he throws 55 percent, averages 88.5 mph. That is in the five percentile in the majors, meaning the lowest five percent of fastball velocity. Wells still gets an 18.3 percent whiff rate with the pitch. He uses his changeup 17 percent and his slider and curveball 14 percent. He gets a 29.0 whiff rate on swings against his slider.

Right-hander Luis Gil, 23, will start for the Yankees and make his major league debut. Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for just $90,000 by the Minnesota Twins, he was ranked as the Yankees’ No. 4 prospect in the Baseball America midseason rankings.

Gil can bring mid-to-high-90s heat and throws his changeup in the low 90s. In 15 starts this year - eight at Triple-A and seven with Double-A - he has gone 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA. At Double-A, he was 1-1 with a 2.64 ERA, a 3.8 walk-rate and 14.7 strikeout rate. At Triple-A he was 3-0 with a 5.64 ERA, a 6.8 walk-rate and 11.3 strikeouts.

O’s manager Brandon Hyde was asked in his pregame interview today about Gil.

“From what I saw on video with Gil, it’s a great arm,” he said. “One of their top prospects. A guy they didn’t move at the deadline. It’s mid-to-upper 90s, it will be upper 90s tonight, a fastball top of the zone. You know, I think he has walked people in his career, so we do need to get him in the strike zone. That being said, it’s his debut, Yankee Stadium, you never know what you will see. But his four-seam fastball at the top of the zone is his biggest weapon. He does have good secondary stuff, but it’s a really, really, good arm. A live arm. Kind of like (Albert) Abreu, the reliever that came in last night. That look with an upper 90s fastball.”

Mullins Rounds Third White Sidebar.jpgA few O’s hitting notes:

* Mullins has an 11-game hitting streak during which he is batting .386 (17-for-44) with three doubles, a triple, two homers and two RBIs. This is his third streak of 11 or more games this year, and his career high is a 15-game hitting streak. Mullins’ 50 extra-base hits are the seventh-most in the American League and tied for the ninth-most in the majors. His 28 doubles are tied for the second-most in the AL and tied for the fifth-most in the majors. He is two home runs shy of becoming the seventh Oriole with a 20-20 (homer and steals) season. Brady Anderson did it three times (1992, ‘96, ‘99), and Jonathan Villar was the last in 2019.

* In 23 games since July 1, Urías is batting .313 (26-for-83) with three doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs.

* Over his last five games, Mountcastle is 10-for-21 (.476) and he is 8-for-13 (.615) his last three games.

* Hays is just 2-for-22 (.091) his past six games.

* Over his last six, Pedro Severino is 6-for-21 (.286) with a double, three homers and seven RBIs.

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