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MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles (88-51) at Boston Red Sox (72-68)

BALTIMORE ORIOLES NOTES:

SWEEP DREAMS: The O’s beat the Angels Wednesday night, 10-3, to complete the three-game sweep in Southern California…Austin Hays went 4-for-4 with a double, a home run, three runs scored, and a season-high four RBI, while Anthony Santander homered for the 27th time, extending his team lead…Kyle Gibson surrendered three runs in 6.0 innings to secure his career-high 14th win, tying him for the AL lead with Toronto’s Chris Bassitt. Gibson’s fourth-inning punchout of Matt Thaiss was the 1,249th by O’s pitching this year, setting the Baltimore franchise record for strikeouts in a season. the Birds now have nine series sweeps of at least two games, tied for the third-most in MLB this season with Milwaukee and trailing Atlanta (12) and Los Angeles-NL (10). Baltimore has recorded 10+ hits in five consecutive games, its longest such streak since August 10-14, 2017 (also five); the last time the Orioles did this in six straight outings was September 19 (G2)-24, 2011. Gibson is the first Orioles pitcher with 14 wins in a season since Chris Tillman won 16 games in 2016. Hays notched his fourth four-hit game of the year; his eight four-knock efforts since the start of 2022 are tied for third-most in MLB during that time behind only Los Angeles-NL’s Freddie Freeman and Miami’s Luis Arraez, who both have 10 such games.

SOMETHING IN THE ORANGE: The O’s have won five games in a row, 11 of their last 14, 14 of 18, 17 of 23, 22 of 31, 25 of 35, 31 of 45, and 39 of 55…They’ve won six series in a row, seven of eight series, and 10 of 12 series…At 88-51 (.633), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB (see box at right)…The Birds are 39-16 (.709) since July 5, the best record in MLB during that time…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 150-100 (.600) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time. The O’s hold a 4.0-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 4.7 bWAR, 3.3 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, .326), and slugging percentage (3rd, .476). His 4.7 bWAR is tied for the second-best by a rookie in O’s history (since 1954) with Cal Ripken, Jr. and behind only 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 12 Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions; nine of those are at shortstop, tied for sixth 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.

J THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: The Orioles began a nine-game road trip on September 1 in Arizona… After dropping the first game, the O’s have won the next five games, taking the next two games against the Diamondbacks before sweeping a three-game series at Los Angeles-AL…The trip wraps up this weekend with three games in Boston following an off day yesterday…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 46-25 (.648) away from Camden Yards this season, the best road record in the AL and second-best in MLB, behind Atlanta (46-24, .657); the .648 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 383 runs on the road this year, second-most in the AL and fourth-most in MLB; the 5.39 runs per game away from Oriole Park would be the second-highest mark on the road in O’s history (since 1954) behind 1996 (6.31).

AGAINST THE RED SOX: The O’s and Red Sox are meeting for the first time since late April this weekend in Boston and for the third of four series this season…The teams opened the 2023 season against each other at Fenway Park from March 30 to April 2, with the Orioles winning on Opening Day before the Sox won the final two games…Baltimore went 2-1 against Boston at Oriole Park from April 24-26…The teams wrap up the regular season with four games at Camden Yards from September 28 to October 1.

MAKING THEIR PITCH: The O’s have a 3.61 ERA (212 ER/528.2 IP) since July 1, the third-best mark in MLB during that time behind Seattle (3.35) and Toronto (3.45)…The Orioles have gone 40-19 (.678) over that period, the second-best record in MLB during that time behind Seattle (.683, 41-19)…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 218 times on base (139 H, 77 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 are the second-most by a primary catcher in O’s history (since 1954), trailing only Javy López (236 in 2004)…The 77 walks are the second-most by an O’s primary catcher behind Mickey Tettleton (106 in 1990).

O’s MAGIC NUMBER: Baltimore’s magic number to clinch a Postseason berth is eight.

STARTING PITCHER – #39 KYLE BRADISH RHP
QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make 26th start of the season, 16th on the road, and seventh career start against the Red Sox tonight…Entering tonight’s game, Bradish ranks among qualified AL starting pitchers in opponent slugging percentage (2nd, .342), ERA (3rd, 3.03), batting average (3rd, .224), WHIP (6th, 1.11), and on-base percentage (8th, .288)…Made 23 starts in his rookie season with the Orioles in 2022…Went 4-7 with a 4.90 ERA (64 ER/117.2 IP) with 111 strikeouts to 46 walks…Was one of 13 O’s players (7 pitchers) to make their debut in 2022…Started on the bump for Adley Rutschman’s debut on May 21 vs. Tampa Bay…Tossed 16.0 consecutive scoreless innings across four starts from August 26 to September 6…Acquired by the Orioles along with RHP Kyle Brnovich, RHP Zach Peek, and RHP Isaac Mattson from Los Angeles-AL in exchange for RHP Dylan Bundy on December 4, 2019…Originally drafted by the Angels in the fourth round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico State… Teammates at NMSU with INF Joey Ortiz.

LAST TIME OUT: Earned his 10th win of the campaign in his last outing on September 2 at Arizona, his first career start against the Diamondbacks…An Arizona native, Bradish attended Millenium High School in Goodyear, roughly 20 miles west of Phoenix… Allowed two runs on four hits with three walks, a hit batter, and six strikeouts in 6.0 innings…Marked his third straight victory and fourth consecutive quality start…Has not allowed a home run in a career-high five straight starts since August 6…Has tallied 29 strikeouts in his last four assignments since August 13, the most in a four-game span in his career…Threw a career-high 107 pitches, 66 strikes.

BOSTON TEA PARTY: Is slated to make his seventh career start against the Red Sox tonight…Will be his second start against the AL East foe this season; also started on the bump against Boston on April 25 at Oriole Park…Dealt the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits (1 HR), both season highs, with four walks and one strikeout in 2.1 innings…Left with one runner on, who was stranded…Threw 81 pitches, 48 strikes… Has pitched to an 0-4 record with a 9.36 ERA (26 ER/25.0 IP) and two quality starts in six career outings against the Red Sox.

KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSE: Making his 22nd career start against the AL East…Owns a 3-10 record with a 6.18 ERA (70 ER/102.0 IP) and six quality starts in his 21 starting assignments against the division.

THIS IS KYLE’S HOUSE: Bradish has worked 6.0-or-more innings in each of his last seven road starts since July 6,tied for the third-longest active streak in MLB…It is also the longest such streak by an O’s hurler since Jeremy Guthrie’s seven-gamer from July 28, 2010 to April 1, 2011…Has logged quality starts in six of his last seven outings away from Oriole Park.

DAWG DAYS OF SUMMER: During the month of August, Bradish ranked among qualified AL starting pitchers in ERA (3rd, 2.12), batting average against (3rd, .189), OPS (4th, .548), K/9 (4th, 10.62), wins (T-4th, 3), slugging percentage (5th, .283), and strikeouts (8th, 35)…Surrendered three earned runs-or-fewer in each of his five outings in the month, including two scoreless starts…Has not allowed a home run in a career-high five straight starts.

PUTTING UP ZEROS: Bradish’s six scoreless starts this season lead the O’s and are tied for 10th-most in MLB entering today…The last O’s starter with more than six such outings in a season was Kevin Gausman, who logged seven scoreless starts in both 2016 and 2017.

LIMITING THE DAMAGE: Bradish has surrendered one or no home runs in 39 of 40 starts since June 13, 2022…In 33 straight starts from June 13, 2022 to July 26, 2023, he did not allow more than one homer, marking the third-longest active streak among MLB starting pitchers, and the longest by an O’s starter since Ubaldo Jiménez accomplished the feat in 36 straight starts from July 23, 2015 to September 10, 2016.

BOSTON RED SOX NOTES:

STATE OF THE SOX: The Red Sox have lost back-to-back games following their 3-game winning streak…They’re 3-7 in their last 10 games after going 12-7 in their previous 19. At 72-68 (.514), Boston is tied with the Miami Marlins for MLB’s 14th-best record.

HOME COOKING: The Sox tonight begin a 7-game homestand vs. BAL (3 games) and NYY (4). Boston went 1-5 on their previous homestand vs. LAD and HOU…They went 6-10 in 16 home games during August after going 13-5 in their previous 18. At home, the Red Sox lead the majors in AVG (.283)… They also rank 2nd in OBP (.349), 3rd in OPS (.811), and 4th in SLG (.462).

SERIES BUSINESS: Boston lost a 3-game series at TB to fall to 23-19-3 in series play…They’re 1-3-0 in their last 4 series, after going 3-1-1 in their previous 5. The Sox are 13-9-0 in home series (10-10-3 on the road). The Red Sox have already surpassed their series win total from 2022 (22-24-6)…They’ve also won more home series than they did last season (12-10-4).

SOX & O’S: The Red Sox and Orioles will meet for the 1st time since April…The Sox won a season-opening 3-game series at Fenway Park (2-1) from 3/30-4/2, then lost a 3-game series at Camden Yards (1-2) from 4/24-26. BOS has 7 games left vs. BAL, ending the regular season with a 4-game series at Camden Yards (9/28-10/1). The Sox are 8-4 in their last 12 games against the Orioles, beginning 9/10/2022…They’ve won 3 of their 4 series vs. BAL in that span.

EASTERN STANDARD: Monday began the Red Sox’ stretch of 13 consecutive games against AL East teams, facing each divisional opponent over the span (3 at TB, 3 vs. BAL, 4 vs. NYY, 3 at TOR). 16 of the Sox’ 22 remaining games will be against AL East opponents (BAL-7, NYY-4, TOR-3, TB-2). The Red Sox are 20-16 against AL East teams this season (6-5-0 in series), after going 26-50 in 2022 (6-17-1 in series).

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Red Sox tonight begin a 3-game series vs. BAL (88-51, 1st in AL), after playing 3 games at TB (85-56, 2nd in AL) from Monday-Wednesday. 19 of the Sox’ remaining 22 games will be against teams that currently have record of .500 or better (BAL-7, NYY-4, TEX-3, TOR-3, TB-2). BOS is 45-42 against teams with a current record of .500 or better, and 27-26 against teams below .500.

NO TIME TO REST: Today marks the 1st of 13 consecutive days that the Red Sox will play a game, from 9/8-20 (3 vs. BAL, 4 vs. NYY, 3 at TOR, 3 at TEX). Boston will finish the regular season with a stretch of 28 games in 31 days from 9/1-10/1…Their only remaining off days are 9/21 and 9/25.

THE INCREDIBLE HOUCK: Tanner Houck is the Red Sox’ nominee for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award, recognizing the player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field. This is Houck’s 1st career nomination for the award.

PICK YOUR POISON: Three Red Sox players rank in the AL’s top 10 in OPS, more than any other team…They also have 3 representatives in the AL’s top 15 in AVG and OBP.

FOREVER AND DEVERS: Rafael Devers recorded his 395th career XBH on Wednesday at TB, breaking a tie with Mookie Betts for the most by a Red Sox player prior to turning 27, and 22nd most overall in Red Sox history (see table on the right). Devers is 1 HR shy of his 3rd career 30-HR season (32 in 2019, 38 in 2021)…He’d join Ted Williams and Jim Rice as the only Red Sox players with three 30-HR seasons prior to turning 27.

TRISTON TIME: Triston Casas is on a career-long 13-game hitting streak, slashing .396/.491/.667 with 12 RBI during that span (19-for-48, 9 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 BB). He owns the 3rd-longest active streak in the AL, trailing Teoscar Hernández (16) and Luis Rengifo (14).

SLUGGING SOX: The Sox have homered in 23 of their last 25 games and 31 of their 34 games since the start of August. Boston has hit 32 HR in their last 20 games since 8/17. Red Sox rookies have hit 44 HR this season, 2nd most in club history behind 1987 (67 HR)…They are tied with OAK for the AL lead and 2nd in MLB (CIN-54).

HIGH FIVE: The Red Sox are 59-10 (.855) when scoring 5+ runs, the 3rd-best record in MLB (SEA-.868, HOU-.855). They’ve scored more than 5 runs in 4 of their last 5 games, after doing so in just 2 of their previous 7. Since 6/14, the Sox are 32-4 when scoring 5+ runs.

LOCK IT DOWN: Boston owns MLB’s best record when leading after 6 innings (56-3, .949)…In 2022, they ranked 18th in MLB when leading after 6 (63-10, .863). The Sox lead MLB in save % (75.5; 40-for-53), after ranking 24th last season (57.4; 39-for-68). 10 Red Sox pitchers have earned at least 1 save, tied with LAD for most in MLB…They’re 1 shy of tying their most pitchers with a save in club history (11 in 1967).

MARTY PARTY: Chris Martin has allowed only 1 run in his last 32 outings since 6/9 (28.2 IP)…He leads MLB with a 0.31 ERA in that span (min. 20.0 IP). He has not allowed a run over his last 14.0 IP, the 3rdlongest active scoreless streak among relievers and 3.1 innings shy of his career-long 17.1 IP (9/4/22-4/9/23). Overall, his 1.17 ERA (6 ER/46.1 IP) ranks 3rd in MLB (min. 40.0 IP) behind TB’s Shawn Armstrong (0.84) and SD’s Josh Hader (1.13).

ON THE MEND: Corey Kluber and Pablo Reyes will begin rehab assignments tonight with Triple-A Worcester. The WooSox play at Gwinnett starting at 7:05 p.m.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: 89 TANNER HOUCK – RHP
W-L ERA G GS IP ER HR BB SO WHIP AVG
2023 4-8 5.07 16 16 81.2 46 11 29 75 1.31 .250
CAREER 13-17 3.76 69 36 227.2 95 19 81 239 1.19 .227

In his last 5 starts, has posted a 4.13 ERA (11 ER/24.0 IP). Began the season 3-0 in his first 4 starts, but is 1-8 in his last 12…Has received 2 runs or fewer of support in 9 of those 12 games. Has pitched at least 5.0 innings in 12 of his 16 starts this season. Has allowed 3 ER or fewer in 31 of his 36 career starts. Is 3-2 with a 3.28 ERA (9 ER/24.2 IP) in 7 games (3 starts) against BAL. Opponents have hit .208 against him the 1st time through the order this season, .291 the 2nd time, and .259 the 3rd and 4th time. Has allowed only 1 HR to his last 348 RHH faced (Gleyber Torres on 6/10/23)…Since the start of 2022, owns MLB’s lowest opponent SLG vs. RHH (.253; min. 300 PA).

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