Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles (83-50) at Arizona Diamondbacks (69-65)


SOMETHING IN THE ORANGE: The O’s have won six of their last eight games, nine of 12, 12 of 17, 17 of 25, 20 of 29, 26 of 39, and 34 of 49…At 83-50 (.624), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and tied for the second-best in MLB (see box at right)…With their 82nd win on Monday, the O’s clinched a winning season for the second straight year; they were the first team in the AL to clinch a winning record this season, and second in MLB behind the Braves, who won their 82nd game on August 23…The Birds are 34-15 (.694) since July 5, tied for the best record in the AL and tied for the second-best in MLB during that time with the Mariners, behind only the Dodgers (36-12, .750)…The team had a season-best eight-game winning streak from July 5-16, Baltimore’s longest since a 10-gamer from July 3-13, 2022… The O’s are 145-99 (.594) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time.  The O’s hold a 1.5-game lead over the Rays in the AL East.  Tuesday’s victory was the team’s 83rd of the year, matching last year’s total.

SWEEPLESS IN BALTIMORE: The Orioles have gone 82 consecutive series of at least two decisions (no ties) without being swept…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the fifth-longest such streak in MLB history, trailing the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals (124), 1906-09 Chicago Cubs (115), 1903-05 New York Giants (105), and 1922-24 New York Yankees (83)… Baltimore’s current streak is the longest in O’s history, ahead of 46 consecutive sweepless series from 1971-72…The Birds have not been swept in a series of at least two games since May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit (0-3), and not at home in a series of at least two games since August 27-29, 2021 vs. Tampa Bay (0-3).

HOT AUGUST: The Orioles went 18-9 in August, their most wins in a single month since going 18-9 in April…Their 18 wins last month were second in the AL and tied for fourth in MLB, behind the Dodgers (24-5), Mariners (21-6), and Braves (21-8), and tied with the Cubs (18-9)…Baltimore has won at least 16 games in four of the five full months this season. STATING HIS CASE: Gunnar Henderson leads AL rookies with 4.6 bWAR, 3.2 fWAR, 77 runs, 49 extra-base hits, six triples, and nine game-winning RBI, while ranking among AL rookie leaders in home runs (T-1st, 22), total bases (T-1st, 209), RBI (2nd, 65), hits (3rd, 110), walks (3rd, 50), and doubles (4th, 21)…According to STATS, he ranks among qualified AL rookies in on- base percentage (3rd, .331), slugging percentage (3rd, .478), and OPS (3rd, .809).  His 4.6 bWAR is the third-best by a rookie position player in Orioles history (see box at right).  He’s the third rookie in team history to record 20+ doubles, 5+ triples, and 20+ homers, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982) and Ron Hansen (1960), both of whom won AL Rookie of the Year. Henderson is the ninth rookie in Orioles history to hit 20 home runs in a season and first since Ryan Mountcastle set the O’s rookie record with 33 long balls in 2021.  Henderson is one stolen base shy of becoming the first rookie in team history with 20+ doubles, 5+ triples, 20+ homers, and 10+ stolen bases; he would be the 20th rookie in MLB history with such a stat line, joining Arizona’s Corbin Carroll this year, and the first in the AL since Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. last season.  He leads the O’s with 10 Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions; eight of those are at shortstop, tied for sixth in MLB despite playing over 300 fewer innings at the position than anyone ahead of him.

O THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: The Orioles begin a 10-day, nine-game road trip tonight in Arizona…After three games in the desert through Sunday, the O’s face Los Angeles-AL from September 4-6 and Boston from September 8-10…This is the second 10-day, nine-game tour in as many road trips for Baltimore following August 11-20, which had stops in Seattle (2-1), San Diego (1-2), and Oakland (3-0)…The last two trips are tied for the second-longest of the season behind an 11-day, 10-game expedition from April 27 to May 7 in Detroit (3-1), Kansas City (2-1), and Atlanta (1-2).  Baltimore is 41-24 (.631) away from Camden Yards this season, the best road record in the AL and second-best in MLB, behind Atlanta (44-23, .657); the .631 road winning percentage would be the second-best since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954, behind 1997 (52-29, .642).  The Orioles have scored 345 runs on the road this year, third-most in the AL and fifth-most in MLB; the 5.31 runs per game away from Oriole Park would be the fifth-best runs per game on the road in team history (since 1954) and the best mark since 2004 (5.33).

AGAINST THE DIAMONDBACKS: The O’s and D-backs meet for the first time since 2019 this weekend, their lone series this season…Baltimore is 7-14 all-time against Arizona and 3-9 at Chase Field.

MAKING THEIR PITCH: The O’s have a 3.60 ERA (190 ER/474.2 IP) since July 1, the third-best team ERA in MLB during that time behind Seattle (3.18) and Toronto (3.36)…The Orioles have gone 35-18 (.660) over that period, the second-best record in the AL and third-best in MLB… Baltimore posted a 4.33 ERA (346 ER/719.1 IP) through June, ranked 18th in MLB.

BIG TIME RUTSCH: Adley Rutschman is slashing .297/.364/.407 (35-for-118) with five doubles, one triple, two home runs, 21 runs, 16 RBI, 12 walks, one hit-by-pitch, and one steal in 29 starts since being moved to the leadoff spot on July 29; the team is 20-9 (.690) in those games.  Rutschman’s 208 times on base are the most by a primary catcher since Kansas City’s Salvador Perez reached safely 210 times in 2021, per STATS; his times on base this year are tied with Chris Hoiles (1993) for the third-most by a primary catcher in O’s history (since 1954), trailing only Javy López (236 in 2004) and Mickey Tettleton (210 in 1990).

ROSTER MOVES: The Orioles recalled OF Colton Cower and RHP Joey Krehbiel from Triple-A Norfolk as rosters expanded to 28 players for all MLB teams today.

QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make his 20th appearance (12th start) of the season, 10th appearance (sixth start) on the road, and first career start against the Diamondbacks tonight…Recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on June 10, his third stint with the O’s…Spent the 2022 season with the Athletics; led the team in wins (9), starts (30), innings pitched (181.0), and strikeouts (128)…Posted careerlows in ERA (3.98), opponent batting average (.251), on-base percentage (.293), slugging percentage (.416), and OPS (.709)…Allowed two earned runs-or-fewer in 17 of his 30 starts…Acquired by the Orioles along with RHP Kyle Virbitsky from Oakland in exchange for SS Darell Hernaiz on January 26, 2023…Originally selected by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Oregon.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor into the decision in his last start on August 25 vs. Colorado, his 100th career appearance…Allowed four runs on six hits (1 HR) with
one walk, a hit batter, and five strikeouts in 6.0 innings…Completed 6.0 innings for the second time this season (also: 6.1 IP, 7/7 at MIN)…Threw 85 pitches, 63

TREKKING THE DESERT: Is slated to make his first career start against the Diamondbacks and seventh career appearance (fifth start) against the NL West tonight…Owns a 3-0 record with a 3.21 ERA (12 ER/33.2 IP) and three quality starts in six career assignments (four starts) against the division.

INTERSTELLAR: Is scheduled to make his 19th career Interleague appearance (13th start)…Sports a 4-3 record with a 4.76 ERA (40 ER/75.2 IP) and four quality starts in his 18 career Interleague outings.

KEEPING IT CLOSE: Irvin allowed one or no earned runs in five straight starts from June 26 to August 19, the longest such streak of his career…Was tied for
the fourth-longest active streak among MLB starting pitchers and longest by an O’s hurler since John Means’ six-gamer from September 8, 2020 to April 7, 2021.

KEEPING IT IN THE YARD: Irvin did not surrender a home run in four consecutive starts from June 26 to August 12, tied for the longest such streak of his career (3x, last: 7/4-22/22 w/ OAK)…Opposing batters slashed .197/.250/.268 (14-for-71) with five doubles against him in those games.

WHAT A RELIEF IT IS: Irvin has made eight relief appearances for the O’s this season, pitching to a 5.40 ERA (7 ER/11.2 IP) in those games…Credited with his first career hold in his last such outing on August 6 vs. New York-NL (1.0 IP, K)…Worked a career-high 4.0 innings of relief on July 18 vs. Los Angeles-NL, allowing two runs on four hits with three walks, a hit batter, and four punchouts.

SWIRVIN’ IRVIN: Irvin has posted a 1-1 record with a 3.35 ERA (19 ER/51.0 IP) in his last 15 appearances (eight starts) since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on June 10…Has recorded six of the 10 fastest strikeout pitches of his career in that span…Owned an 0-2 record with a 10.38 ERA (15 ER/13.0 IP) in his first our appearances (three starts) of the year.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE:Irvin has relied on his fastball more than any other pitch this season, throwing it 29.7 percent of the time…Opposing hitters are slashing .247/.306/.481 (19-for-77) against his primary pitch…In 2022, Irvin held batters to a .218/.266/.379 (53-for-243) slash line against his heater.


IN THE STANDINGS: The D-backs are third in the NL West, 14.5 games behind the Dodgers and 1.0 game behind the Giants. The D-backs are in the fourth Wild Card spot, a 1.0 game behind the Giants, 1.5 games behind the Cubs and 4.5 games behind the Phillies as well as a 0.5 game ahead of the Reds and 3.0 games ahead of the Marlins.

ROSTER AT 28: The D-backs recalled OF Pavin Smith, INF Emmanuel Rivera and RHP Luis Frías from Triple-A Reno and optioned INF Buddy Kennedy to Reno yesterday…the active roster is now at 28.

VS. ORIOLES: The D-backs are hosting the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since 2019 and the fifth time in franchise history (2019, ’13, ’07 and ’02).

SNAKES LATELY: The D-backs have won 7 of their last 11 games and 10 of their last 15. The D-backs 10-5 record (.667) since Aug. 15 is tied for fifth in the Majors (also: Cubs), behind the Mariners (13-2, .867), Braves (12-3, .800), Rays (10-3, .769) and Dodgers (12-4, .750).

THE PLAYOFF STRETCH: The D-backs are 5-4 in this 28- game span from Aug. 21-Sept. 20, which includes 21 games against playoff contenders in the Rangers (2-0), Reds (3-1), Dodgers (0-3), Orioles (3 games), Cubs (4 games on the road and 3 games at home) and Giants (2 games)…this stretch also includes series against the Rockies (3 games) and Mets (4 games).

CORBIN AT THE PLATE: In Corbin Carroll’s last 11 games, since the Aug. 19 doubleheader @ Padres, he is hitting .417 (15-for-36)/1.250 OPS with 2 doubles, 2 triples, home runs, 6 RBI, 5 walks (5 strikeouts), 2 hitby-pitch and 4 stolen bases. In the span, Carroll’s .417 average ranks sixth in the Majors, behind Mookie Betts/LAD (.510), Luis Rengifo/LAA (.462), Marcel Ozuna/ATL (.444), Bryce Harper/PHI (.436) and Alex Bregman/HOU (.429).

PHAM BAM: Tommy Pham has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games at a .272 clip (22-for-81)/.791 OPS with 6 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 16 RBI, 4 walks and
1 hit by pitch…he has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 home games with 3 doubles, 1 homer and 10 RBI.

MORENO BACK HOME: Gabriel Moreno, in his last 6 home games, is hitting .400 (8-for-20)/1.005 OPS with 1 double, 1 triple, 6 runs, 2 RBI and 2 walks, including 3 multi-hit eff orts.

FIVE OF THEIR LAST SIX: The D-backs have won 5 of their last 6 series (2-1 vs. Padres, 2-1 @ Rockies, 3-1 @ Padres, 2-0 vs. Rangers, 3-1 vs. Reds).

ANSWER-BACKS: The D-backs’ 35 comeback wins are tied for 12th-most in a season in franchise history, along with the 2005 team…next on the list are 36 in 2016, 27 in 2012 and 2022, and 38 in 2007…the franchise record is 48 come-from-behind-wins in 2011.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: With tonight’s start vs. Baltimore, will have faced 28 teams in his 10-year MLB career…only remaining teams are Yankees and Blue Jays. In 3 career starts against AL East teams, is 1-1 with a 1.04 ERA (2 ER in 17.1 IP), 0.81 WHIP and .138 opponent average (8-for-58). Making his second start since being reinstated from the 15-day injured list on Aug. 26 (lower back infl ammation)…placed on the IL on July 19. Made 3 rehab starts with Triple-A Reno…in his last start on Aug. 20 vs. Las Vegas, notched the win with a quality start (3 ER in 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 2 K). In search of his first home win since May 13, 2022 vs. Cubs.

LAST START: In his fi rst start since July 18, held the Reds scoreless through 5.0 innings before allowing a solo home run to Matt McLain in the sixth inning on Aug. 26 @ Chase Field (ND; 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K).

VS. ORIOLES: Making his fi rst career start against the Orioles.

VS. AL EAST: 2 of his 3 career starts against the AL East have been @ Chase Field this season. Faced the Red Sox on May 27 and the Rays on June 28 (1.74 ERA; 7 H, 4 BB, 6 K ). Tossed a season-high 7.0 shutout innings and yielded a season-low 2 hits in his start against Tampa Bay on June 28.

LIMITING LEFTIES: In his last 4 home games, is holding lefties to a .175 average (7-for-40) with 8 strikeouts.

CHANGING IT UP: In his last 5 starts, opposing batters are hitting .176 (6-for-34) with 11 strikeouts on his changeup.

NOT AFRAID OF 6-7-8: Limiting hitters 6-8 to a .211 average (16-for-76) with 22 strikeouts.

IT’S UNDER CONTROL: Has walked 2 or fewer batters in 4 of his last 5 starts.

MISSING BARRELS: Has lowered his barrel pct. down from 8.0 in 2022 to 7.5 in 2023. Barrel = comparable hit types (exit velo. + launch angle) that have lead to a min. .500 BA/1.500 SLG.

AHEAD IN THE COUNT : Holding batters to a .219 average (16-for-73) with 26 strikeouts when he is ahead in the count.

WORKHORSE: Is 1 of 11 MLB pitchers with 27+ starts in 5 of the last 7 seasons since 2016.

IL REPORT: Reinstated from the 15-day injured list (sprained left oblique) on May 27. Tossed 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 7 in 1 rehab start with Double-A Amarillo on May 20.

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