Friday, June 21, 2024
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MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles (28-16) at Toronto Blue Jays (25-19)

BALTIMORE ORIOLES NOTES:

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Orioles split the four-game series against the Angels after dropping yesterday’s finale, 6-5…Fell to 24-3 when leading after seven innings… Dropped to 8-9 in day games.

Tyler Wells did not factor in the decision after allowing three runs on six hits (2 HR) with one walk and seven strikeouts in 5.0 innings…Set a career high with 19 swings and misses, surpassing his previous career high of 18 set in his last start on May 13 vs. Pittsburgh; marks the most swings and misses induced by an O’s hurler since Bruce Zimmermann also had 19 on June 1, 2021 vs. Minnesota…Has thrown at least 5.0 innings in all nine appearances (eight starts) to begin the season; had 12 career games of 5.0+ innings (all in 2022) entering 2023…Entering today’s games, Wells leads qualified MLB pitchers with a 0.79 WHIP.

Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander each homered in the loss; Rutschman has hit safely in eight straight starts since May 9, slashing .357/.471/.750 (10-for-28) in those games, and Santander has homered six times in his last 19 games after homering just once in his first 22 and is slashing .339/.406/.645 (21-for-62) in May while hitting safely in 13 of 16 games, compared to slashing .213/.280/.362 (20-for-94) in March/April.

WHAT’S TRENDING: The O’s have won 19 of their last 28 games, 22 of 32, and 24 of 35… The 28-16 overall record ranks second in MLB to start the season (see box at right).

Last season, the Birds did not reach 28 wins until the 65th game on June 16 (28- 37); they did not reach 29 wins until the 66th game on June 17 (29-37).

The Orioles are 90-65 since June 1, 2022, a 94-win pace; the .581 winning percentage during that time is the second-best in the AL and fourth-best in MLB, trailing the Braves (.677, 105-50), Dodgers (.671, 106-52), and Astros (.632, 98-57).

AGAINST THE BLUE JAYS: The O’s and Jays meet for the first time this season with a three-game set at Rogers Centre…The Orioles will travel to Toronto again for four games from July 31 to August 3 and will host the Jays in Baltimore for a pair of three-game sets from June 13-15 and August 22-24…The O’s went 9-10 against the Jays in 2022; the season series was not decided until game 162 on October 5 (G2).

Ryan Mountcastle has slashed .323/.381/.634 (52-for-161) with eight doubles, 14 homers, 26 runs scored, 33 RdBI, 14 walks, and a 1.014 OPS in 42 career games against the Jays; marks his most home runs, RBI, extra-base hits (22), and total bases (102) against a single opponent, as well as his highest batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS against a team with at least 15 games played.

WRAPPING UP THE HOMESTAND: The Orioles finished up their longest homestand of the season yesterday…The 11-day, 10-game homestand began with three games against the Rays from May 8-10 (2-1) before an off day on May 11 and continued with a three-game weekend series against the Pirates from May 12-14 (2-1) before a four-game set against the Angels from May 15-18 (2-2)…The O’s went 6-4 on the homestand and won four straight from May 9-13.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Orioles begin a seven-day, six-game road trip tonight with the first of three games in Toronto…After an off day Monday, the Orioles make their first trip to Yankee Stadium this year with three games against the Yankees from May 23-25.

LOOKING AHEAD: After the current road trip, the O’s return to Charm City for a six-game homestand with three games against the Rangers from May 26-28 and three against the Guardians from May 29-31.

WHAT A RELIEF: The Baltimore bullpen owns a 2.99 ERA (55 ER/165.2 IP), second-best in MLB (see box at right)…Baltimore’s 2.44 reliever ERA (23 ER/85.0 IP) at home is tied with Philadelphia for second in the majors behind Toronto (2.19)…O’s relievers have 12 wins this season, tied with New York-AL for first in the AL and fourth in MLB, trailing Arizona, Cincinnati, and Miami (13)…The O’s are second in MLB with 198
strikeouts from the ‘pen, trailing Kansas City (207).

THE CANO SHOW: Yennier Cano has surrendered just four hits and one hit batter in 21.2 scoreless innings over 17 appearances to begin the season after being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on April 14…He allowed his first extra-base hit of the year on a one-out double from Pittsburgh’s Tucupita Marcano on Saturday…Opponents are slashing .061/.075/.076 (4-for-66) against him, all of which lead MLB pitchers with at least 15 appearances…His .150 OPS against is less than half of the next closest player (SD’s Josh Hader, .361).

Cano’s 17-game scoreless streak is the third-longest to begin a year by an O’s pitcher in team history (since 1954), trailing Donnie Hart (18 G) in 2016 and Will Ohman (25 G) in 2010.

His streak of 17 straight games without allowing a run or a walk is tied with Toronto’s Paul Quantrill (2001) for the second-longest to start a season since at least 1901, behind a 19-game streak by Houston’s Ryan Pressly to open the 2019 campaign.

He leads all O’s and ranks eighth among all MLB pitchers with 1.9 bWAR, per Baseball Reference.

His sinker is worth -10 Run Value, the best pitch by an Oriole and tied for the fourth-best pitch in MLB, per Statcast.

His changeup has a Run Value of -4 and a 45.3 percent Whiff Rate, per Statcast; the pitch also has the second-highest Put Away percentage on the team at 36.2 percent and he has yet to allow a base hit with it.

TOP GUNN: Gunnar Henderson has hit safely in six straight games for the first time in his career and has also reached base safely in nine straight games since May 9…In 16 May games, he has slashed .208/.333/.458 (10-for-48) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, eight runs scored, four RBI, and nine walks compared to .189/.348/.311 (14-for-74) with three doubles, two home runs, 15 runs scored, four RBI, and 17 walks in his first 23 games of the season…Owns a .792 OPS in May compared to a .659 OPS in March/April.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – #48 KYLE GIBSON RHP
QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make his 10th start of the season, sixth on the road, and 12th career start against the Blue Jays tonight…Became the first O’s pitcher in club history (since 1954) to start and win each of his three first appearances with the team…Started a season 4-0 for the second time in his career, joining a 6-0 start with Texas in 2021; became the fifth Oriole starting pitcher since 2004 to begin a year 4-0, joining John Means (4-0 in 2021), Bud Norris (4-0 in 2013), Wei-Yin Chen (4-0 in 2012), and Erik Bedard (4-0 in 2006)…Since his debut in 2013, Gibson ranks among active MLB pitchers in starts (4th, 270), innings (6th, 1556.0), and quality starts (T-14th, 121)…In 276 career appearances (270 GS), Gibson owns a 93-94 record with a 4.52 ERA (782 ER/1556.0 IP)…The O’s signed Gibson to a one-year contract on December 5, 2022…He has also spent time with the Twins, Phillies, and Rangers across 10 Major League seasons.

LAST TIME OUT: Dealt the loss in his last start on May 14 vs. Pittsburgh after allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks, five strikeouts, and a wild pitch in 5.0 innings of work…Marked his third straight loss after winning his first three starts and four decisions this season…Threw 95 pitches, 57 strikes.

CAREER AGAINST THE BLUE JAYS: Dealt the loss in his last start against Toronto on September 20, 2022 with Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park; allowed seven runs on a career-high-tying 12 hits (1 HR) with one walk and three strikeouts in 5.0 innings… Threw 79 pitches, 52 strikes…Sports a 5-2 record with a 4.81 ERA (34 ER/63.2 IP) and four quality starts through his first 11 career starts against Toronto…Making his 5th career start at Rogers Centre…Holds a 2-1 record with two quality starts at Toronto…Earned the win in his last start at Rogers Centre on May 8, 2019 with the Twins; allowed one run on two hits (1 HR) with one walk and a career-high 11 strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

CAREER AGAINST THE AL EAST: Making his 57th career appearance (56th start) against the AL East…Sports a 22-20 record with a 4.57 ERA (161 ER/317.0 IP) and 21 quality starts through his first 56 career outings against the division…Dealt the loss in his last start against the AL East on May 8 vs. Tampa Bay…Allowed two runs on six hits (1 HR) with two walks and four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

LIFE ON THE ROAD: Making his sixth road start of the 2023 campaign tonight…Dealt his first loss of the season in his last start away from Oriole Park on May 3 at Kansas City…Allowed six runs on 10 hits (1 HR), both season highs, in 6.2 innings of work… Threw 74 pitches, 49 strikes…Owns a 45-44 record with a 4.56 ERA (395 ER/780.0 IP) and 62 quality starts in 139 career road appearances (135 starts)…Tossed his first career complete-game shutout on September 16, 2020 at Houston with Texas… Allowed just four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in 9.0 scoreless innings… Threw 114 pitches, 74 strikes.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES:

THE LATEST: The Blue Jays were doubled up, 4-2, by the Yankees in the final match of a four-game series last night… Outhit the Yankees, 33-29, during the series but lost three of the four contests…Marked their 1st home series loss of the season, now 5-1-0 at Rogers Centre and 9-5-0 overall. Toronto has still won seven of its last 12 games and 13 of its last 23…Its .568 win% currently sits 4th in the AL and T-6th in MLB.

WE CALL THEM BO-ING BOMBS: Bo Bichette got Toronto on the board last night with a solo homer in the bottom of the 1st, his team-leading 9th longball of the season…Also added singles in the 3rd and the 6th to finish 3-for-4…His 17 multi-hit efforts and six games with 3+ hits are both the most in the AL. The shortstop has now gone 61-for-186 (.328) with 10 doubles, nine homers, and 29 RBI while playing in all 44 games this season…The .328 AVG is the best in the junior circuit…Leads all MLB hitters with 61 hits (2nd: Ronald Acuña Jr. – 58) and leads the AL with 98 total bases (2nd: Luis Robert Jr. – 93)… Among AL hitters, is also 9th in OPS (.899) and 10th in SLG (.527).

JOSÉ STEADYING: José Berríos allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while recording eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings last night…Marked his 4th quality start of the season… Has given up three runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts, posting a 3-2 record and a 3.14 ERA (15 ER/43.0 IP) with nine walks and 40 strikeouts for a 1.12 WHIP and a .239 opponents’ average.

IN A PINCH: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. missed Wednesday’s game with right knee discomfort but came in to pinch-hit with the bases loaded in the 7th inning last night…Drove in Toronto’s 2nd run with a sacrifice fly to center field. The 24-year-old is 49-for-157 for the season with 11 doubles, seven homers, and 27 RBI for a .312 AVG (4th in the AL), a .383 OBP (8th), and an .899 OPS (8th)…His 49 hits are tied for 7th most in the AL…Has also recorded an AL-best 75 hard-hit balls (95+ MPH) this season, one ahead of teammate Bo Bichette (74).

ONE NOTCH AT A TIME: Brandon Belt notched a single off lefty Nestor Cortes to lead off the bottom of the 3rd inning last night, his 1st hit off a southpaw this season (now 1-for-11)…Over his last 12 games, has batted .412 (14-for-34) with four doubles, a homer, four RBI, and six walks (.512 OBP, .618 SLG)…His 1.045 OPS for the month of May ranks 7th among AL batters (min. 40 PA).

DANNY DIGGING IN: Danny Jansen picked up a single in the 7th inning last night as he finished 1-for-4…Has gone 8-for-31 (.258) with three doubles, a homer, and eight RBI in his last eight games…Has registered a hit in all six of his games vs. NYY this season, going 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.

AT DOME FOR DAYS: The Blue Jays are on a 10-day, 10-game homestand (4-3 so far)…Have gone 13-6 this season at Rogers Centre, tied for the 3rd-best record through 19 home contests in team history…The .684 win% at home is 3rd best in MLB (TB – .864, LAD – .708)…After completing this weekend series with the Orioles, will head out on a seven-game road trip to Tampa Bay (32-13) and Minnesota (24-20). Toronto batters rank 5th in the AL in home AVG (.259), while sitting 6th in home OBP (.332), 9th in home OPS (.724), and 10th in home SLG (.392)…The pitching staff ranks 2nd among AL teams with a 2.88 home ERA (TB – 2.52), 2nd in home opponents’ average (.194), and 2nd in home WHIP (1.11).

WEEKEND WARRIORS: The Blue Jays swept the Braves last weekend and swept the Pirates the weekend prior…Dating back to last September, have won each of their last 10 series that began on a Friday, the longest such streak in team history (2nd: nine straight from Aug. 2021-May 2022)…courtesy Stats Perform.

QUITE A STRETCH: The Blue Jays are in the midst of playing 17 games in 17 days, their most consecutive days with scheduled games this season…Have gone 4-3 so far…Their opponents over this 17-game stretch (ATL, NYY, BAL, TB, MIN) have a combined record of 137-85 (.617).

HITTING IT: The Blue Jays have notched 390 hits so far this season, 5th most in the AL…Are also 5th in the AL in team AVG (.256), 6th in OBP (.330), 6th in OPS (.735), and 8th in SLG (.407). The Blue Jays are one of two AL teams who have scored in every game this season (also: LAA)…Have gone 62 straight games without being shut out, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Majors (LAA – 86G).

DIVISIONAL DETAILS: The Blue Jays have now gone 5-9 against divisional opponents this season…Have still won 28 of their last 47 games vs. AL East foes, dating back to Aug. 17, 2022…Went 43-33 (.566%) in divisional play in 2022, the 2nd-best winning percentage within the division (NYY – .618) and the club’s best since registering a .581 win% in 2006 (43-31).

VS. THE ORIOLES: All-Time: 318-387
2022: 10-9 Home: 168-184
Home: 5-5 Rogers Centre: 130-130
The Blue Jays went 10-9 against the Orioles last season while splitting the 10 contests here at Rogers Centre…Have claimed each season series since 2018, going 57-29 since then…Their .663 win% vs. BAL over that span is their 2nd best vs. an AL opponent (.719 vs. KC).

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit .329 (25-for-76) with two doubles, six home runs, and 12 RBI in his 18 games played against the O’s last season (.985 OPS)…In 63 career meetings, is 86-for-258 (.333) with 13 doubles, 22 homers, and 53 RBI (1.025 OPS).

Bo Bichette kept a .315 (23-for-73) batting average in 18 games vs. Baltimore last year, including two doubles, six home runs, and 15 RBI (.940 OPS)…The team has gone 30-16 during his 46 career games against them while he has batted .326 (62-for-190) with 12 doubles, 10 homers, and 34 RBI (.920 OPS).

Matt Chapman picked up 15 hits in 16 games against the Orioles last year, including seven extra-base hits and 12 RBI (.571 SLG)…Is a lifetime .269 (39-for-145) hitter across 42 meetings with 12 doubles, seven home runs, and 24 RBI (.860 OPS).

STARTING PITCHER – Yusei Kikuchi, LHP #16
TODAY’S GAME: Making his 9th start of the season and his 4th at Rogers Centre…Lasted 4+ frames his last time out, on 5/14 v.s ATL, allowing 5R/4ER on 9 hits… Struck out 7 without issuing a walk. Is 1 of 3 AL hurlers with at least 5 wins and no losses this season, joining Shane McClanahan (7-0) and Gerrit Cole (5-0).

2023 HIGHLIGHTS:
Improved to 5-0 his on 5/7 at PIT, tossing 6.1 shutout frames with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts…Marked his longest outing as a Blue Jay, and his 3rd quality start this season. Took a no-decision on 5/2 at BOS, giving up 5 runs on a season-high-tying 9 hits with a pair of strikeouts. Improved to 4-0 on 4/26 vs. CWS, throwing 5.2 frames of shutout ball while scattering four singles and a walk along with eight strikeouts…Has allowed one run or fewer in four of his five starts this year while the Blue Jays have won all five of his outings. Earned his 3rd win of the year on 4/21 at NYY, tossing 6.0 frames of one-run ball with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts…Has back-to-back starts of 6.0+ innings and 0-or-1 runs allowed for the first time since 6/18-25 of his 2021 All-Star campaign. Improved to 2-0 on 4/15 vs. TB, throwing 6.0 innings of one-run ball with 4 hits, a walk, and a season-high 9 strikeouts…Marked his most punchouts in a single game as a Blue Jay…Completed 6.0 frames for the 1st time since 6/30/22 vs. TB. Took a no-decision on 4/9 at LAA, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits and a walk over 4.1 innings with 6 strikeouts…Threw 99 pitches (59 strikes) on the day, his most pitches in a single outing since 7/28/21 vs. HOU (101). Picked up the win in his season debut on 4/4 at KC, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball with 3 hits, a walk, and 2 strikeouts…Was his 1st start since 8/15/22 vs. BAL, and his 1st win as a starter since 7/28/22 vs. DET.

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