O’s game blog: Final homestand begins

For the Orioles in the 2021 season, it’s 152 games down and 10 go. They begin their final homestand tonight, hosting the Texas Rangers to start a four-game series. They will follow that with three at home versus Boston and then three at Toronto to end the year.

The Orioles (48-104) blanked the Phillies on the road 2-0 on Monday behind John Means. But they lost 3-2 in 10 innings on Tuesday and 4-3 on Wednesday. So each team scored just seven runs in three games. The Birds have lost five of their past six and 10 of 12 games.

The Orioles continue to play a lot of close games in the last few weeks. In their past 22 games, 14 were decided by one or two runs. They went 6-8 in those games.

The offense has struggled in recent games, scoring 10 runs in three games at Boston before getting just seven in the Philadelphia series. The Orioles have scored three runs or less in nine of the past 11 games, scoring 34 total runs. They have gone four straight games without a home run.

But the Orioles pitched well in the series versus the Phillies. Over 26 2/3 innings, O’s hurlers allowed 23 hits and seven runs (six earned) with four walks and 16 strikeouts. This followed the Boston series, where they gave up 24 runs in three games.

O’s starting pitchers at Philadelphia - Means, Conner Greene and Keegan Akin - gave up just one run and 10 hits over 13 innings with two walks and 14 strikeouts.

Lowther-Throwing-White-Sidebar.jpgLefty Zac Lowther (0-2, 9.61 ERA) gets the start tonight in the Texas series opener, making his ninth appearance and fifth start. The Orioles are 0-4 when he starts. On Saturday at Boston, Lowther allowed five hits and three runs over 3 1/3 innings with two walks and strikeouts on 57 pitches.

In six home games (three starts), he is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA, allowing five homers over 15 1/3 innings.

Texas (55-97) comes to Baltimore from New York, where they were swept three straight at Yankee Stadium, getting outscored 18-7 in the series. Texas has lost four in a row and seven of eight following a stretch where the Rangers went 6-1.

Texas has now fallen 42 games under the .500 mark for the first time since late in the 1973 season. Texas is going through a losing season for the fifth straight year.

On May 9, the Rangers were 18-18, but they are 37-79 since that point. For the season, they are 22-55 on the road (although 6-4 in the last 10), 20-42 since the All-Star Game and 12-18 versus American League East teams.

Texas right-hander Glen Otto (0-2, 9.37 ERA) will make his fifth major league start tonight. He started out with two very good outings and followed that with two bad ones.

In his first two games versus Houston and the Los Angeles Angels, Otto gave up two runs over 9 2/3 innings, allowing a .171 batting average. But then in his past two starts against Oakland and Houston, his ERA is 20.25. Over 6 2/3 innings, he gave up 15 hits and 15 runs allowing a .441 batting average and 1.213 OPS.

The 25-year-old Otto was originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Yankees in 2017 from Rice University.

This series features two of the top candidates for the AL Rookie of the Year Award in the Orioles’ Ryan Mountcastle and the Rangers’ Adolis Garcia.

Here is how they stack up right now:

Mountcastle: 496 at-bats, .258/.312/.490/.802, 23 doubles, 30 homers, 83 RBIs.
Garcia: 540 at-bats, .243/.288/.461/.749, 24 doubles, 30 homers, 83 RBIs.

Mountcastle’s 16 home runs since the All-Star break lead the O’s, are the most by a rookie in the second half and are tied for the seventh-most in the AL. He’s batting .263/.323/.557 (51-for-194) in the second half and his .557 second-half slugging percentage is the 11th-highest in the AL among qualifiers (minimum 201 plate appearances). His 83 RBIs are the fifth-most in a single season by an O’s rookie. Next up on that list is Ron Hansen with 86 in 1960.

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