Thursday, February 22, 2024
Sportsbook Advisor

MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles (95-58) at Cleveland Guardians (73-81)

BALTIMORE ORIOLES NOTES:

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Orioles lost to the Guardians yesterday, 5-2, dropping their second game in a row…Baltimore rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to tie the game before Cleveland scored three times in the bottom half…Adley Rutschman had three hits, including a pair of doubles…Grayson Rodriguez surrendered two runs over 5.0 innings.

SOMETHING IN THE ORANGE: The O’s have won four of their last six games, 12 of 19, 14 of 23, 18 of 28, 21 of 32, 24 of 37, and 29 of 45…The Birds have won or split their last nine series, 10 of 13 series, and 13 of 17 series…At 95-58 (.621), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB (see box at right)…The Birds are 47-26 (.644) since the start of July, the best record in the AL and the second-best mark in MLB during that time, behind only the Dodgers (.676, 48-23)…The team is 157-107 (.595) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time. The Orioles hold a 1.5-game lead over the Rays in the AL East and have clinched the season series tiebreaker against Tampa Bay; the magic number to clinch the division is seven.

SWEEPLESS IN BALTIMORE: The Orioles have gone 88 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 such 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).

STRIKE A POSE: Orioles pitching has struck out 1,355 batters this year, surpassing the 2016 and 2019 clubs (1,248) for the most in a single season in team history…The team broke the record on September 6. Starting pitchers have struck out 776 batters this year, surpassing the 1968 rotation (747) for the most in a single season in team history. Relievers have fanned 579 hitters in 2023, fourth-most in one year in O’s history; the 2021 club holds the record with 637 punchouts from relievers.

EARNED IT: The O’s have three pitchers among ERA leaders in the AL since July 1 (min. 50.0 IP) – Kyle Bradish (3rd, 2.39), Grayson Rodríguez (5th, 2.59), and Dean Kremer (11th, 3.08).

GETTING OFFENSIVE: Baltimore has scored 778 runs this season, the most since 2008 (782)…Prior to 2008, the most runs scored in one year by the O’s was 2004 (842).

O THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: The Orioles began their final road trip of the season on Monday in Houston…After winning two of three games against the Astros, Baltimore dropped the first of four games last night in Cleveland to wrap up the regular season road schedule. Baltimore is 50-28 (.641) away from Camden Yards this season, tied with Atlanta for the best road record in MLB the .641 road winning percentage would be the second-best in team history (since 1954) behind 1997 (.642, 52-29). The O’s have won 50 road games in a season for the third time in team history (since 1954), joining 1997 (52) and 1980 (50). The Orioles have scored 430 runs on the road this year, second-most in the AL and fourth-most in MLB; the 5.51 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).

BIG TIME RUTSCH: Adley Rutschman ranks fifth in the AL with 240 times on base (153 H, 5 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…The last catcher with more times on base in a season was Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy, who was on base 244 times (176 H, 66 BB, 2 HBP) in 2014…His times on base this year are the most by a primary catcher in O’s history (since 1954)…The 85 walks are the second-most by an O’s catcher behind Mickey Tettleton (106 in 1990). He doubled twice last night, giving him 64 career doubles in his first 259 games; that’s the second-most two-baggers by an Oriole in his first 259 career games behind Manny Machado (66). Rutschman is the third Oriole with 60+ doubles in his first two seasons, along with Nick Markakis (68, 2006-07) and Eddie Murray (61, 1977-78).

AGAINST THE GUARDIANS: The O’s and Guardians complete their season series against each other this weekend at Progressive Field…Baltimore lost two of three to Cleveland at Oriole Park from May 28-31…Since then, the Orioles are 60-37 (.619), the best record in the AL and third-best in MLB…The Birds went 3-3 against Cleveland in 2022, with each team winning two of three on the road.

ROSTER MOVES: The Orioles recalled right-handed pitcher Tyler Wells from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Baumann to Norfolk today.

STARTING PITCHER – #64 DEAN KREMER RHP
QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make his 31st start of the season, 13th on the road, and third career start against the Guardians tonight…Made 22 appearances (21 GS) in 2022, 11 appearances at home (10 GS), and 11 on the road…Owned an 8-7 record with a 3.23 ERA (45 ER/125.1 IP) and 87 strikeouts… Made six starts of 5.0-or-more scoreless innings, tied for seventh-most in the AL…Acquired by the Orioles along with INF Breyvic Valera, OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Zach Pop, and INF Rylan Bannon in exchange for INF Manny Machado on July 18, 2018…Originally selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of UNLV.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor into the decision in his last outing on September 17 vs. Tampa Bay… Allowed one run on two hits (1 HR) with two walks and five strikeouts in 5.0+ innings…Left with one runner on, who was stranded…Fanned Manuel Margot in the second inning to collect his 300th career punchout, matching Daniel Cabrera and Chuck Estrada for the fifth-fastest Orioles by appearances (69) to reach the mark…Threw 86 pitches, 54 strikes.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Is scheduled to make his third career start against the Guardians… Dealt the loss in his last start against Cleveland on June 5, 2022 at Oriole Park, his season debut… Permitted three runs on five hits (1 HR) with one walk, a wild pitch, and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings…Left with one runner on, who was stranded…Threw 67 pitches, 46 strikes…Is 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA (6 ER/9.2 IP) in two career outings against the Guardians.

CENTRAL STANDARD TIME: Making his ninth career start against the AL Central…Owns a 2-5 record with a 5.87 ERA (25 ER/38.1 IP) in eight career outings against the division. PACKING A PUNCH: Kremer collected his 300th career punchout in his last start on September 17 vs. Tampa Bay, matching Chuck Estrada and Daniel Cabrera as the fifth-fastest Orioles by appearances (69) to reach the mark…His 302 strikeouts through his first 69 career appearances (68 starts) are the seventh-most by an O’s hurler in that span in franchise history (since 1954), trailing Estrada (304), Cabrera (305), John Means (306), Erik Bedard (315), Wei-Yen Chen (318), and Tom Phoebus (375).

‘KREM’ OF THE CROP: In his last 10 outings since July 24, Kremer sports a 2-1 record with a 2.93 ERA (18 ER/55.1 IP) and five quality starts…During that span, he ranks among qualified AL starting pitchers in opponent slugging (7th, .325), ERA (8th), and OPS (9th, .619)…Has surrendered three earned runs-or-fewer in nine of those games.

HIGH QUALITY: Kremer logged four straight quality starts from August 10-29, the longest such streak of his career…His 14 quality starts on the year are a career high; posted 11 such performances in his first three MLB seasons (2020-22).

CUTTING DOWN: Kremer has recorded 42 strikeouts via his cutter this season, tied for the fourth-most in MLB entering today’s games…Opposing hitters are slashing .228/.302/.439 (39-for-171) against his secondary pitch this season…In 2022, Kremer punched out 27 batters with his cutter, while opponents slashed .259/.292/.356 (45-for-174).

SWEET VICTORY: Kremer’s 12 wins this season rank second on the team (Gibson, 14) and are tied for seventh in the AL entering play today…His 12 victories are also a career high, surpassing his eight wins in 2022…The Orioles own a 23-7 edge in his 30 outings this season, including victories in 12 of his last 13 since July 5 and in 15 of his last 17 starts since June 13…Kremer’s .767 team winning percentage this season marks the highest percentage in team history (min. 20 starts) since Steve Stone in 1980 when the Orioles went 29-8 (.784) in his 37 starts during his Cy Young winning season.

CLEVELAND GUARDIANS NOTES:

GUARDS RESPOND TO O’S RALLY WITH 3-RUN 8TH IN WIN
The Cleveland Guardians opened their final homestand of the 2023 season with a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Progressive Field…Cleveland has won a season-high 5 straight home games (40-36 at home overall), longest since a 5G home streak spanning June 14-28, 2021…last 6-game home win streak was July 14-19, 2019…club is 15-14-4 over last 33 series (-1G below .500/52-53 record in that span since May 26). Cleveland’s pitching staff collaborated to hold Baltimore’s high-powered offense scoreless through the first 7.0 frames of the contest…HUNTER GADDIS (3.0IP, H, 2BB, SO, 56 pitches) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and opened the game with 3.0 spotless frames before turning the ball over to ELI MORGAN (2.0IP, 3SO), SAM HENTGES (1.0IP, H, SO) and REYNALDO LÓPEZ (1.0IP, H, 2SO)…both Orioles tallies came in the 8th against TREVOR STEPHAN (1.0IP, 3H, 2R-ER, SO), as a pair of hits (single/double) set up a run-scoring groundout and RBI-double by Ryan O’Hearn…EMMANUEL CLASE logged 29 pitches in recording his MLB-leading 42nd save…Cleveland got on the board in the 5th after a lead-off walk by BO NAYLOR and single from STEVEN KWAN gave way to JOSÉ RAMÍREZ’s RBI-single and a sac fly executed by JOSH NAYLOR…after the O’s knotted the score at 2-2, Cleveland mounted a decisive 3-run rally in the 8th, loading the bases on a hit-by-pitch, walk and single to start the bottom half of the frame…RAMÓN LAUREANO drew a bases-loaded walk to push across the winning run ahead of [Bo] Naylor’s RBI-single and a run-scoring groundout by GABRIEL ARIAS. » With 8 games remaining and the Twins ‘Magic Number’ sitting at one, Cleveland (73-81) sits in 2nd place in AL Central standings, 8.5 games behind 2nd-place Minnesota (81-72) & one half-game ahead of 3rd-place Detroit (-9.0G, 72-81)…despite winning 4 of 7 and 5 of last 9, Guardians have dropped 3 of 4, 11 of 18, 19 of 34, 30 of 51 & 75 of last 139 overall since starting year 9-6.

SHIMMY LIKE GIMMY
In 19 games played this September, ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ is hitting .356 (26-for-73) with an .871 OPS, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored…his .356 batting average in September is leading the American League…he’s hit safely in 15 of 19 games this month, including 10 multi-hit efforts…in 88 career games in September, Giménez owns a .305 average (87-for-285) with 9 home runs and 37 RBI, his highest marks in any month over his career. WIth his 30th stolen base of the season on Tuesday, Giménez joined Roberto Alomar (1999-2001) and Jason Kipnis (2012- 2013) as the only Cleveland second basemen with 30+ steal seasons…Giménez also became the 5th player in Cleveland history to post a 25+ double, 30+ steal campaign by their age-24 season, joining Shoeless Joe Jackson (1911-12), Braggo Roth (1917), Von Hayes (1982) and Grady Sizemore (2007).

SHOW UP AND SHOW OUT
In 78 games against teams that are currently .500-or-better the Guardians own a 38-40 record…it’s the 10th-best record against clubs .500-or-better in MLB and the best record of any current sub-.500 team…among teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, Cleveland has a better record against clubs .500-or-better than 4 playoff teams (TOR 38-43, HOU 35-41, ARI 32-39, SEA and MIA 34-45)…in their last 17 games against .500-or-better clubs, Cleveland is 11-6, including 4 straight wins… conversely, Cleveland is 35-41 against sub-.500 teams, the 26thbest record in MLB…they are one of 6 clubs with a sub-.500 record against teams that are currently sub-.500.

HE’S JUST THAT GUY
With his 200th career stolen base on Monday, JOSÉ RAMÍREZ joined Mike Trout, Jose Altuve and Andrew McCutchen as the only active MLB players with 200+ career home runs and stolen bases…in doing so, Ramírez (216 HR, 201SB) became the 11th player in MLB history to record 200 steals and homers by their age30 season, the second Guardian to accomplish the feat (Bobby Bonds) and the first to do so fully in a Cleveland uniform…Ramírez, Álex Rodríguez and Barry Bonds are the only 3 of the group to also hit 300 doubles by their age-30 season…he is one home run away from passing Carlos Santana and Hal Trosky for sole possession of 5th-most home runs in franchise history. Ramírez has 24 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 2023…his 5 seasons of 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases are the most in club history, ahead of Grady Sizemore (4), and tied for the most among active players with LAA’s Mike Trout…he is T10th in MLB history in 20-20 seasons…Ramírez has turned the trick in each of his last 5 full seasons (2018-19, ‘21-’23)…his next home run would give him his third season of 25+ home runs and 25+ stolen bases, the most in club history…he and Francisco Lindor are T1st with two each, as turned the trick in 2018 and 2021.

DON’T STRESS WITH THIS DRS
ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ leads the American League and is 3rd in MLB with 20 defensive runs saved, trailing PIT’s Ke’Bryan Hayes (23) and SD’s Fernando Tatis Jr. (26)…his 376 assists this season lead the American League and rank 3rd in MLB, trailing NYM’s Francisco Lindor (382) and ChC’s Nico Hoerner (395)…he leads all middle infielders with 36 defensive runs saved since the start of last season. STEVEN KWAN ranks T2nd in the American League and T4th in MLB with 17 defensive runs saved this season…he and TOR’s Kevin Kiermaier are tied for the most DRS among American League outfielders and trail only Tatis Jr. (26) in MLB…Kwan’s 38 defensive runs saved since the start of last season are the most by any AL player and rank 2nd in MLB behind Hayes…he’s T6th in the American League with 9 outfield assists…his 5 assists since August 8 are T3rd in MLB with with 4 other players.

TITO, OUR FEARLESS LEADER
In the middle of Cleveland’s final homestand of the 2023 season, Terry Francona has led the Guardians to victory in 482 games at Progressive Field, the 3rd-most home victories and 3rdhighest win percentage (.578) among MLB teams at home since 2013, trailing New York-AL (508 wins, .606) and Los Angeles-NL (548 wins, .654)…his 918 wins as a Cleveland manager are the most in club history ahead of Lou Boudreau (728)…since 2013, Cleveland (918-752, .550) has the 3rd-best overall win percentage in MLB, trailing New York-AL (935-736, .560) and Los
Angeles-NL (1,025-646, .613)…during his 11-year tenure with the Guardians, the club has played a total of 18 games in which they were eliminated from Postseason contention…the Guards need to finish 8-0 to avoid Francona’s second losing season as Cleveland’s manager.

THE MAN-ZARDO ON THE FARM
KYLE MANZARDO has homered in 3 straight games tallying 4 home runs in that span..since September 12, he is hitting .308 (8-for-26) with 2 doubles, 5 home runs, 10 RBI and a 1.341 OPS… since joining the organization, he has hit .253 (20-for-79) with 8 doubles, 6 home runs, 17 RBI and a .922 OPS…he is the club’s #2 prospect and the 58th prospect overall, per MLB.com.

TONIGHT’S STARTER – #57 SHANE BIEBER RHP
BIEBER AT HOME
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023 4-3 3.33 9 9 54.0 49 20 20 21 48
Career 24-18 3.64 60 59 358.1 347 155 145 92 403

BIEBER’S MLB CAREER
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023 5-6 3.77 19 19 117.0 113 50 49 33 95
Career 59-32 3.26 132 130 820.0 731 317 297 186 926

TONIGHT’S START
The 2020 Cy Young winner is scheduled to make his 20th start of the season, 10th at home, in the second contest of this 4-game set with the Baltimore Orioles…marks his first MLB start since July 9 vs. Kansas City…was placed on the Injured List on July 15 (retroactive to July 12) due to right elbow inflammation…is starting on 4 days’ rest from his last rehab start and has made 2 MLB starts this season on 6+ days’ rest, owning a 4.22 ERA (5ER/10.2IP) in those games…since the start of June, he has worked 5.0+ innings in 6 of his 7 outings, but has dropped his last 3 decisions.

LAST TIME OUT
Bieber made 2 rehab starts, one for Double-A Akron on September 12 and another for Triple-A Columbus on September 17…did not factor into either decision…on 9/12, he pitched 3.2 innings vs. Altoona in a 3-2 RubberDucks loss…allowed 2 runs (one earned) on no hits with a walk, 2 hit batters and 4 strikeouts on 50 pitches/31 strikes…made his most recent start on 9/17 at Toledo in a 6-0 Clippers victory…pitched 3.2 scoreless and hitless innings, walking 3 and striking out 7 on 64 pitches/35 strikes… combined for a 1.23 ERA (1ER/7.1IP), 2 hit batters, 4 walks and 11 strikeouts while allowing no hits in his 2 rehab outings. Bieber’s last MLB start came on July 9 in a 4-1 loss to the Royals…was tagged with the loss after allowing 4 runs (earned) on 9 hits with 6 strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work…he faced the minimum through the first 3.0 innings…had runners on 1st and 3rd base with one out in the 4th, before striking out 2 batters to end the inning…gave up his first run of the day on a leadoff home run from Kyle Isbel in the 5th…allowed 3 more earned runs in the 6th on an RBI-double from Freddy Fermin and a 2-run triple by Michael Massey…he was relieved following a one-out single in the 7th.

REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD
Is making his sixth career start against Baltimore, holding a 3-1 record with a 3.09 ERA (12ER/35.0IP) and 52 strikeouts against 5 walks for a 10.4:1 SO/BB ratio…struggled in his lone 2023 start against Baltimore on May 31, tying a career-high with 7 runs (earned) allowed on 8 hits with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks in 4.0 innings of work…did not factor into the decision in Cleveland’s 12-8 win over the Orioles…suffered the loss in his last home outing against the O’s on September 1, 2022 at Progressive Field (L, 7.0IP, 6H 3R/ER, 3HR, 1BB, 11SO)…he had worked 7.0+ innings and struck out 11+ batters in each of his 5 previous starts against Baltimore before his most recent outing on May 31…this year, Bieber is 2-0 with a 3.98 ERA (14ER/31.2IP) in 5 starts against the AL East…is 13-8 with a 3.90 ERA (76ER/175.1IP) in 28 career games/27 starts against the division.

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