O’s game blog: Looking for a series win at Philadelphia

The Orioles will take a series victory if they win at Philadelphia tonight. They have split two games at Citizens Bank Park, winning 2-0 Monday night behind John Means and losing 3-2 in 10 innings last night.

The Orioles (48-103) are 1-4 on this road trip that ends tonight. They are 25-52 on the road and 7-12 versus National League teams. In their most recent games they have lost four of the last five and nine of 11 heading into the series finale.

The Orioles have been struggling to score runs, plating just four in this series and 10 in the three games at Boston over the weekend. They have scored three runs or fewer in eight of their last 10 games, scoring 31 runs in those games. In five of the 10 games they scored two or fewer runs. The Orioles have not homered in three straight games.

Baltimore pitchers held the Phillies scoreless through the first 14 innings of this series and had a 15-inning scoreless streak dating back to the ninth inning of their game Sunday at Boston. It was three innings shy of their longest streak of holding opponents scoreless this season, an 18-inning stretch from July 17-19. The Orioles allowed 24 runs in three games at Boston, but just three in two games in this series.

O’s center fielder Cedric Mullins recorded his 46th multi-hit game of the season Tuesday night, and that is tied for the fifth-most in the American League. Mullins recorded another first-inning hit and is now batting .371 (49-for-132) in the first inning this season, and he has the most first-inning hits in the major leagues.

Thumbnail image for Hays-HR-Gray-sidebar.jpgOutfielder Austin Hays has hit safely in 17 of 19 games in September and has reached base safely in 18 of them. He is slashing .289/.349/.645 this month with four doubles, a triple, seven homers, 11 runs and 19 RBIs in 19 games.

The Phillies earned their 12th walk-off win of the season on Tuesday, their most since they also had 12 in 2013. They have not had more in a season since they had 13 in 1991 (tied for franchise record). For J.T. Realmuto, it was his fourth career walk-off hit, and his first since July 28, 2018 against Washington.

Realmuto recorded his 25th and 26th doubles, giving him at least 25 doubles in each of the last five full seasons (since 2016, excluding the shortened 2020 season). Only three other catchers in baseball even have two 25-double seasons in that span (Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina). He leads all catchers in doubles this season.

Lefty Keegan Akin (2-10, 6.93 ERA) is on the mound tonight making his 17th start. The Orioles are 4-12 in his starts but 3-2 over the last five of them. In those games, Akin has logged a 4.50 ERA while allowing 13 earned runs over 26 innings with 12 walks and 19 strikeouts. In that span he has allowed a .187 batting average and .688 OPS.

The O’s offense gets a real challenge tonight, facing Philly right-hander Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.83 ERA). He is making his 31st start. Wheeler leads the National League in innings (200 1/3) and strikeouts (231). He is tied for fourth in wins, is fifth in ERA and WHIP (1.018) and eighth among qualified pitchers in strikeouts per nine at 10.38.

In three starts at the end of August he had a brief slump, pitching to a 6.53 ERA. But in three starts this month, Wheeler is 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA while allowing two earned runs over 17 2/3 innings with three walks to 23 strikeouts, a .212 average against and .566 OPS.

In 17 home starts he is 7-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 0.868 WHIP. He finished 12th for the 2020 Cy Young Award when he went 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 11 starts. The Phillies are 18-12 in his 2021 outings.

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