After splitting the first two games in this series, the Orioles host the Texas Rangers tonight looking to erase the memory of last night’s blown lead and 8-5 loss. The Orioles went to the ninth leading Texas 5-3 but allowed five runs as the Rangers evened the four-game series at a win each.
O’s pitching had allowed just seven runs in the previous four games and then gave up eight in losing Friday night. They had beaten the Rangers 3-0 on Thursday night as Zac Lowther and three relievers teamed on a five-hitter.
The Orioles (49-105) have eight games remaining with two against Texas, three with Boston and three at Toronto to wrap up the 2021 season.
The Orioles are now 41-6 when leading entering the ninth inning and 43-34 when scoring four or more runs. They have not won more than two games in a row at Oriole Park since sweeping the Washington Nationals in three games from July 23-25
Texas (56-98) ended a five-game losing streak last night and won for just the second time 10 games. The Rangers are 2-3 versus the Orioles and 23-56 in road games.
Right-hander Chris Ellis (1-0, 2.39 ERA) is back on the mound tonight on eight days’ rest. He got a few extra days between starts due to some arm fatigue. Ellis has thrown well for the Orioles, going 0-0 with a 2.82 ERA in his five O’s-only games.
The Orioles have gone 4-1 in his starts, the last of which was Sept. 16, when he allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings versus the Yankees. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer four consecutive games.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles (9-12, 5.36 ERA) makes his 29th start for Texas. The Rangers are 12-16 in his games. He gave up five runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings in his most recent game versus the Chicago White Sox. But in the two starts before that he gave up just one run over 14 innings.
A few more notes on Cedric Mullins, who last night became the first player in O’s history to reach 30 homers and 30 steals in a season.
Mullins’ 71 extra-base hits (36 doubles, five triples, 30 homers) are the sixth-most in the American League and rank eighth in the majors. They are tied for the 20th-most in club history and are the most by an Oriole since Trey Mancini’s 75 in 2019.
Mullins’ 309 total bases are the fourth-most in the majors, trailing only: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of Toronto (349), Marcus Semien of Toronto (335), and Salvador Pérez of Kansas City (319). He is the 24th player (39th time) in Orioles history to reach 300 total bases, and the first since Mancini did it in 2019 (322 total bases).
Mullins is batting .300/.370/.536 for a .906 OPS. He is one of nine qualified players in the majors and one of only two in the American League (Guerrero is the other) with a batting average of at least .300 and an OPS of at least .900. Entering the season, he had a career OPS of .632, so he has raised his career OPS to .799 today, a rise of .167 points.
Farm note: While Double-A Bowie’s season ended last night with their playoff loss at Akron, Triple-A Norfolk still has seven games to play.
The Tides (50-73) are playing at Charlotte this afternoon.
Norfolk outfielder Kyle Stowers went 4-for-5 with four singles last night to set a new career high for hits. He had produced nine three-hit games in his career. Stowers has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games. In those 11 games, he is batting .415 (17-for-41) with eight runs, two doubles, three homers, six walks and nine RBIs.
Stowers leads all O’s minor leaguers in homers (27) and RBI’s (83) and ranks second in OPS (.920).