Thursday, April 25, 2024
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MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles (87-51) at Los Angeles Angels (64-75)


COMEBACK KIDS: The O’s beat the Angels last night, 5-4 in 10 innings, to win their fourth game in a row and secure the season series with Los Angeles-AL…Ryan Mountcastle tallied three hits while Adley Rutschman was on base four times with a single and three walks (1 IBB)… Shintaro Fujinami struck out two in a perfect 10th inning to secure his second save. Baltimore won its first game when trailing after eight innings since September 18, 2022 at Toronto; only the O’s and Rockies had not won a game when behind entering the ninth inning this season entering yesterday. The Orioles notched their 44th comeback win of the year, tied with the Reds for the most in MLB this season; Baltimore has 80 come-from-behind victories since the start of 2022, second-most in MLB behind the Dodgers (83).

STRIKE A POSE: The next strikeout by an O’s pitcher will be the team’s 1,249th punchout of the season, breaking the franchise record set in 2016 and matched in 2019…The 1,248 strikeouts entering today rank seventh in the AL and ninth in MLB this season.

SWEEP DREAMS: The O’s are searching for their ninth sweep of the season tonight and the first since August 18-20 at Oakland (3-0)…The Birds have secured sweeps on the road at Minnesota (3-0) from July 7-9, at Toronto (3-0) from May 19-21, and at Washington (2-0) from April 18-19, while sweeping home series against New York-NL (3-0) from August 4-6, Miami (3-0) from July 14-16, Kansas City (3-0) from June 9-11, and Detroit (3-0) from April 21-23 at Camden Yards.

SOMETHING IN THE ORANGE: The O’s have won four games in a row, 10 of their last 13, 13 of 17, 16 of 22, 21 of 30, 24 of 34, 30 of 44, and 38 of 54…They’ve won six series in a row, seven of eight series, and 10 of 12 series…At 87-51 (.630), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB (see box at right)…The Birds are 38-16 (.704) since July 5, the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB during that time behind the Dodgers (37-15, .712)…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 149-100 (.598) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time. The O’s hold a 3.5-game lead over the Rays in the AL East.

SWEEPLESS IN BALTIMORE: The Orioles have gone 84 consecutive series of at least two decisions (no ties) without being swept…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the fourth-longest streak in MLB history, trailing the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals (124), 1906- 09 Chicago Cubs (115), and 1903-05 New York Giants (105)…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).

STATING HIS CASE: Gunnar Henderson leads AL rookies with 4.8 bWAR, 3.4 fWAR, 81 runs, 70 RBI, six triples, 53 extra-base hits, 222 total bases, and nine game-winning RBI, while ranking among AL rookie leaders in home runs (T-1st, 23), hits (T-2nd, 117), doubles (T-2nd, 24), and walks (3rd, 50)…According to STATS, he ranks among qualified AL rookies in on-base percentage (3rd, .329), and slugging percentage (3rd, .482). His 4.8 bWAR is the second-best by a rookie in O’s history (since 1954) behind Adley Rutschman (5.2) last year; Henderson ranks among rookie leaders in team history in several offensive categories (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. He 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. Henderson leads the team with 81 runs scored this season; only three previous rookies have led the O’s in runs – Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982, 90), Willie Tasby (1959, 69), and Tito Francona (1956, 62); the runs scored are tied for the second-most by a rookie in Orioles history with Eddie Murray (1977, 81) and behind Ripken, Jr. He leads the O’s with 11 Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions; nine of those are at shortstop, ranked seventh in MLB despite playing over 300 fewer innings at the position than anyone ahead of him. Henderson is tied for the MLB lead with four runner runs, a metric designed to evaluate the performance of runners taking extra bases, per Statcast.

O THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: The Orioles began a nine-game road trip Friday night by taking two of three games in Arizona…The O’s have won both games against the Angels in this series and have one more game tonight before traveling to Boston for three games from September 8-10 following an off day on Thursday…This is the second 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 10-game expedition from April 27 to May 7 in Detroit (3-1), Kansas City (2-1), and Atlanta (1-2). Baltimore is 45-25 (.643) away from Camden Yards this season, the best road record in the AL and second-best in MLB, behind Atlanta (46-24, .657); the .643 road winning percentage would be the best in team history (since 1954), the fifth-best road mark in a full season by an AL club since 2002 and the best since Minnesota (.679, 55-26) in 2019. The Orioles have scored 373 runs on the road this year, third-most in the AL and fifth-most in MLB; the 5.33 runs per game away from Oriole Park would be tied for the third-highest mark on the road in O’s history (since 1954) and the best since 2004 (5.33); the 1996 club holds the record with 6.31 runs per game on the road.

AGAINST THE ANGELS: The O’s and Angels wrap up the season series tonight at Angel Stadium…Baltimore clinched the season victory by winning the first two games in this series after the teams split a four-game set at Camden Yards from May 15-18…The Birds are 10-3 against the Halos since the start of last year, including sweeping a four-game series at Camden Yards from July 7-10, 2022 for the first time against the Angels since 2003.

MAKING THEIR PITCH: The O’s have a 3.62 ERA (209 ER/519.2 IP) since July 1, the third-best mark in MLB during that time behind Seattle (3.40) and Toronto (3.41)…The Orioles have gone 39-19 (.672) over that period, tied for the second-best record in MLB during that time… Baltimore posted a 4.33 ERA (346 ER/719.1 IP) through June, ranked 18th in MLB.

BIG TIME RUTSCH: Adley Rutschman has reached safely 217 times on base (139 H, 76 BB, 2 HBP), the most by a primary catcher since Milwaukee’s Yasmani Grandal reached safely 240 times (126 H, 109 BB, 5 HBP) in 2019, per STATS…His times on base this season are the second-most by a primary catcher in O’s history (since 1954), trailing only Javy López (236 in 2004). He drew at least two walks in a game last night for the 17th time this year, the most such games by an O’s batter since Chris Davis in 2015 (also 17).

MOUNT UP: Ryan Mountcastle has reached base safely in 39 of his last 41 starts since returning from the IL on July 9…He’s reached safely at least twice in 10 of his last 14 games since August 19…Mountcastle has slashed .363/.443/.522 (41-for-113) with three doubles, five homers, 19 runs scored, 21 RBI, 16 walks, one hit-by-pitch, and one stolen base in 30 games since the start of August…During that time, he ranks among AL leaders in on-base percentage (2nd), batting average (4th), and hits (T-5th)…Mountcastle had a career-high 28-game on-base streak from July 21 to August 23, which was the longest by an Oriole since Nick Markakis had a 38-gamer from July 5 to August 18, 2009.  His 1.097 OPS against left-handed pitching is the second-best in MLB among MLB qualifiers behind only Los Angeles-NL’s Mookie Betts (1.137). He has 13 go-ahead RBI since returning from the IL on July 9, most in the AL and second-most in MLB behind Chicago-NL’s Cody Bellinger (15); seven of those are game-winning, tied for the second-most in the AL during that time.

QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make his 29th start of the season, 17th on the road, and 15th career start against the Angels tonight…Entering play today, Gibson is one of nine MLB pitchers and four AL hurlers with at least 13 wins…His 13 victories are tied for his most in a season in his career (2014 and 2019 w/ MIN)…Reached 10 years of Major League service time on August 9…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), WeiYin Chen (4-0 in 2012), and Erik Bedard (4-0 in 2006)…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: Suffered his eighth loss of the season in his last start on August 30 vs. Chicago-AL…Allowed seven runs on nine hits (3 HR) with two strikeouts in 4.1 innings… Left with one runner on, who was stranded…The three homers allowed tied his season high (also: 8/11 at SEA)…Did not issue a walk in a start for the sixth time this season (last: 8/18 at OAK)…Threw 89 pitches, 56 strikes.

CALIFORNIA LOVE: Is slated to make his 15th career start against the Angels tonight… Has pitched to a 3-5 record with a 5.94 ERA (51 ER/77.1 IP) and six quality starts in 14 career outings against Los Angeles-AL…Did not factor into the decision in his last outing against the Angels with Philadelphia on June 5, 2022 at Citizens Bank Park… Surrendered five runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings…Left with two runners on, who were stranded…Threw 70 pitches, 43 strikes.

WILD WILD WEST: Making his 64th career start against the AL West…Owns a 21-19 record with a 4.17 ERA (168 ER/363.0 IP), 33 quality starts, and one complete-game shutout in 63 career outings against the division.

MR. CONSISTENT: Gibson has tossed 5.0-or-more innings in each of his last 12 road starts since May 3, his longest such streak since a 13-gamer from April 13 to September 3, 2021 with Texas and Philadelphia…It is the longest such streak by an Oriole since Dylan Bundy accomplished the feat in 12 straight outings away from Oriole Park from April 16 to September 24, 2019…Bundy is also the last O’s hurler with a longer streak, working at least 5.0 innings in 15 straight road assignments from September 13, 2016 to April 15, 2018.

LIMITING FREE PASSES: Gibson has issued two walks-or-fewer in each of his last 10 outings since July 9, tied for the longest such streak of his career (also: 4/21-6/14/19 w/ MIN)…During this span, he ranks among qualified MLB starting pitchers in BB/9 (8th, 1.65).

GIB HIM HIS PROPS: Gibson completed a season-high 8.0 innings on August 24 vs. Toronto, the longest outing by an O’s starter this season…Marked his longest outing since August 5, 2022 vs. Washington with Philadelphia (8.0 IP)…Became the oldest O’s hurler (35-305) to toss 8.0 innings-or-more since Freddy García (36-236) worked 8.0 scoreless frames on May 30, 2013 vs. Toronto.

HIGH QUALITY: Gibson logged four straight quality starts from July 20 to August 5, his longest such streak of the season and longest since a four-gamer from July 27 to August 16, 2022 with Philadelphia…Entering play today, his 14 quality starts are tied for second-most on the O’s and are tied for 12th-most in the American League.

CLUB 100: Gibson recorded his 100th career win on August 5 against the Mets and his 100th strikeout of the season in the second inning on July 25 at Philadelphia…He is one of four LB pitchers to record 100+ punchouts in nine of the last 10 seasons, along with Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer.


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