O’s game blog: Alexander Wells on mound in series finale

The Orioles need a win this afternoon to salvage the finale of their three-game series at Boston before their current road trip moves on to Philadelphia beginning Monday night. The Birds have lost by 7-1 and 9-3 the last two days at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (47-101) have lost seven of their last eight games and have dropped their past three series. They have a 24-50 road record and are 6-11 in September after going 4-24 in August.

Baltimore pitching has allowed 16 runs in this series and 73 runs the last eight games dating back to the doubleheader at home versus Toronto.

Meanwhile, the Birds have struggled to score runs lately. They’ve scored 12 runs on 35 hits the past five games. And in that time they have gone 5-for-33 (.152) batting with runners in scoring position.

Mullins-Cuts-Gray-Sidebar.jpgCenter fielder Cedric Mullins had two hits including a double Saturday and is now batting .302. He recorded his team-leading 45th multi-hit game, and reached safely three or more times for the 24th time. Mullins also recorded multiple stolen bases for the sixth time this year, tying Whit Merrifield and Starling Marte for most in the majors.

He stole second and third in the second inning for his 29th and 30th steals of the season. Mullins is the 21st player in Orioles history to steal 30 or more bases in a season, joining Jonathan Villar (40 in 2019) and Nate McLouth (30 in 2013) as the only Orioles since the start of 2010 to do so. His next home run will make him the first 30-30 player in O’s history.

Ryan Mountcastle blasted a two-run homer in the opening inning for his 30th homer of 2021. Mountcastle has five in his last 10 games, nine in his past 23 and has hit a team-high 16 home runs since the All-Star break, most among major league rookies in the second half. He has a batting line of .269/.322/.582/.904 in 47 games since the break.

Mountcastle leads the Orioles in homers and is tied for the most among major league rookies with Adolis García of Texas. He is the sixth American League rookie since 2000 with 30 or more home runs in a season, joining Aaron Judge (52 in 2017), José Abreu (36 in 2014), Eloy Jiménez (31 in 2019), Mike Trout (30 in 2012), and García this year.

Boston (85-65) has won four in a row and is the No. 1 team right now for the AL wild card by one game over Toronto and 1 1/2 games over the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox are 10-6 in September, and since Aug. 20 they are 16-11 in games and 6-2-1 in series. Boston is 36-18 (.667) in their last 54 home games. They have scored 147 runs and hit 34 homers in their last 19 (7.7 runs per game). Boston pitchers have a 2.01 ERA in their last nine games. Red Sox relievers have given up two earned runs in 35 2/3 innings (0.50 ERA) in their past eight games, including one earned run in their last 29 1/3 and zero earned runs in the last 21 innings.

Boston’s Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-5 Saturday with an RBI single and three-run homer. He matched a season high with four RBIs and has homered in two of his last five games. He’s hit .367 with a 1.108 OPS in eight games since returning from the COVID-19 injured list on Sept. 10, going 11-for-30.

On the mound today, lefty Alexander Wells (1-3, 7.76 ERA) will make his sixth start. The Orioles are 1-4 when he gets the ball and Wells is 0-3 with an 8.57 ERA in his five starts. This is his first career game versus Boston.

Righty Nathan Eovaldi (10-8, 3.52 ERA) will make his 30th start. Boston is 17-12 in his outings, winning five in a row. And in those five games he has pitched to an ERA of 1.76.

On the farm today: Double-A Bowie must win today in its last regular season game to advance to the Northeast championship series when they host Altoona. A Bowie win and the Baysox would be the No. 2 seed in a best-of-five championship series that would begin Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. at Prince George’s Stadium.

Bowie’s lineup today: Jordan Westburg SS, Patrick Dorrian 3B, Zach Watson CF, Johnny Rizer RF, Andrew Daschbach 1B, Toby Welk LF, Gunnar Henderson DH, Cadyn Grenier 2B, Cody Roberts C.

Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis will be on the mound needing to pitch better than in some recent games. He has allowed 20 runs in 20 innings his past four starts.

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