Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (70-57) at Baltimore Orioles (78-48)

TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES:

THE LATEST: The Blue Jays were limited to five singles in a 7-0 loss to the Orioles last night…Marked their 8th time being shut out this season, all of which have home in their last 54 contests. Toronto has still won five of its last eight games, 16 of its last 28, and is 25-17 across its last 42…The .595 win% over that span (since July 4) is 3rd best in the AL (T-5th in MLB)…Enters today 1.0 game back of Seattle (71-56) for the 3rd AL Wild Card spot.

A QUALITY GUY: Kevin Gausman fired 6.0 innings last night, allowing two runs on five hits to go with a walk and eight strikeouts…Was his 17th quality start of the campaign, one back of Gerrit Cole (18) and Logan Webb (18) for the most in the Majors…His 18 games with 6+ innings pitched are tied for 2nd most in the AL (Cole – 20). The 32-year-old leads the AL with 195 strikeouts (2nd: Pablo López – 187), behind only Spencer Strider (227) for the MLB lead…Currently tops the AL with a 4.5 fWAR…Also ranks 1st in the AL in K rate (31.7%) and SO/9 (11.67) while ranking 4th in SO/ BB (5.13), 7th in ERA (3.23), T-7th in innings pitched (150.1), and 10th in WHIP (1.16).

JUST BO WITH IT: Bo Bichette singled in his 1st at-bat last night… Extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the AL, while going 19-for45 (.422) with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, and seven RBI (1.101 OPS)…Has gone 5-for-19 (.263) with three runs, two extra-base hits, and two RBI in
four games since coming back from the injured list. The shortstop now has 149 hits to top all AL batters (2nd: Marcus Semien – 146), despite missing 16 games with a knee injury…Is 2nd among AL batters with a .318 batting average (1st: Yandy Díaz – .329) while tied for 3rd with 43 multi-hit games…Is also 7th
in the AL OPS (.845), 9th in SLG (.496), and 9th in total bases (232).

VLAD HABITS: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also singled in the 1st inning last night…Has reached base safely in 29 of his last 31 games while hitting .259 (30-for-116) with five doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI, and an 18BB/19K ratio (.768 OPS).

HIS BRAND-ON OF BASEBALL: Brandon Belt went 1-for-4 on a single last night… Has reached base safely in each of his last 17 starts while going 19-for-62 (.306) with 15 runs scored, four doubles, six home runs, 10 RBI, and 13 walks (.427 OBP, 1.088 OPS)…His 4.46 pitches/PA this season tops all MLB batters (min. 300 PA)…His 1.114 OPS for the month of August is 4th best in the AL (7th in MLB) while his .683 SLG is also 4th and his .431 OBP ranks 5th.

THE BERRÍ BEST: José Berríos gets the ball tonight, coming off 5.2 scoreless innings last Friday at CIN…Has gone 5-1 with a 2.10 ERA (14 ER/60.0 IP) over his last 10 road starts…His 2.84 ERA (43 ER/136.1 IP) since April 14 is the best in the AL (2nd: Kyle Bradish – 3.07).

ROAD WORK: The Blue Jays have reached the end of thier six-game, seven-day road trip (3-2 so far)…Own a 38-30 road record this season for a .559 win%, 4th best in the AL (6th in MLB), and currently 2nd best in team history (.580 in 1993)…Have gone 18-8 over their last 26 road games for a .692 win%, the 2nd-best road record in MLB since June 20 (1st: SEA – .697)…Will return to Toronto tomorrow for a six-game homestand featuring three games against Cleveland (60-66) and a trio vs.
Washington (58-69). Blue Jays hitters are 2nd in the AL with a .263 road batting average and rank 3rd in road OPS (.756), 4th in road OBP (.329), and 4th in road SLG (.427)…The pitching staff ranks 4th in the AL in road ERA (3.90), 9th in road opponents’ AVG (.249), and 9th in road WHIP (1.28).

PITCHING IN: Toronto pitchers have combined for an MLB-best 3.67 ERA this season…The 3.67 ERA is currently 5th best in team history and the club’s best since 2008 (3.49)…Are 3rd in MLB with 1,196 strikeouts (MIN – 1,208; MIA – 1,200)…Rank 5th in the AL in both opponents’ batting average (.239) and WHIP (1.24)…The rotation has now recorded 58 quality starts, tied for 3rd most in the AL (T-4th in MLB).

HITTING IT: Toronto batters have notched 1,126 hits this season, 4th most in the AL (T-6th in MLB)…Are 3rd in the junior circuit in team OBP (.328), 4th in AVG (.258), 6th in OPS (.742), and 8th in SLG (.414).

DIVISIONAL DETAILS: The Blue Jays have won five of their last seven games vs. AL East clubs…Have still gone 12-24 against divisional opponents this season, the 3rd fewest intra-division wins in MLB (OAK – 6, COL – 8)… The .333 divisional win% is currently the 3rd-lowest in team history (.282 in 1979, .315 in 1978).

VS. THE ORIOLES: All-Time: 387-330
2023: 3-9 Road: 173-183
Road: 2-3 Camden Yards: 134-125

The Blue Jays have gone 3-9 through 12 games vs. the Orioles this season…Dropped two of the three contests at Camden Yards during their last visit in June…Have now gone 23-13 in Baltimore since the start of the 2019 season.

Bo Bichette has now gone 12-for-37 (.324) with two doubles and two RBI in his nine games played vs. Baltimore this season…In 55 career meetings, has batted .326 (74-for-227) with 14 doubles, 10 home runs, and 36 RBI (.885 OPS)…Is also hitting .363 (45-for-124) across 29 games at Camden Yards, including seven doubles, nine homers, and 28 RBI (1.039 OPS)…The .363 AVG at the venue is 4th highest among active players (min. 100AB), behind Jose Altuve (.416), Joey Wendle (.381), and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.364).

Danny Jansen has connected for four home runs in his 10 games vs. the O’s this year while hitting .258 (8-for-31) with seven RBI…Is a lifetime 41-for-166 (.247) with 10 doubles, a triple, 11 homers, and 31 RBI over 52 games vs. BAL (.848 OPS).

STARTING PITCHER – José Berríos, RHP #17
TODAY’S GAME: Making his 26th start of the season and his 15th on the road…Took a no-decision his last time out, on 8/18 at CIN, tossing 5.2 frames of shutout
ball, scattering a hit and 4 walks with 8 strikeouts…Was his 5th scoreless outing of the season. Has held opponents to a .454 OPS with RISP & 2 outs this season, the 6th-best mark among MLB hurlers (min. 50 batters faced). Over his last 23 starts, has gone 9-6 with a 2.84 ERA (43 ER/136.1 IP), 128 strikeouts, and a 1.16 WHIP…His ERA over that span (since 4/14) is the best mark among AL pitchers (2nd: Kyle Bradish – 3.07).

2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Picked up his 9th win of the year on 8/5 at BOS, giving up 3 runs over 5.2 innings (6H, 0BB, 6K). Tossed 6.0 frames of one-run ball on 7/30 vs. LAA, scattering 6 hits and a pair of walks with 6 strikeouts. Allowed 2 runs over 5.0 innings on 7/24 at LAD, giving up 5 hits and 4 walks with 3 strikeouts…Was his 200th career MLB start. Took a no-decision on 7/6 at CWS(1), throwing 7.0 scoreless innings with a hit, a walk, and 6 strikeouts…Gave up just 1 hit over 7.0 frames for the 2nd time in his career, also doing so exactly 2 years prior against the same team as a member of the Twins (7/6/21 vs. CWS). Picked up his 8th win of the year on 6/24 vs. OAK, giving up 3R/2ER over 6.0 innings (6H, 2BB, 8K). Improved to 7-4 on the year on 6/14 at BAL, taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning before allowing a leadoff single to Adley Rutschman…Marked the longest no-hit bid by a Blue Jay since Ross Stripling also tossed 6.0 hitless innings on 8/17/22 vs. BAL…Finished the game with a seasonhigh 7.2 innings of shutout ball (3H, BB, HBP, 5K)…Improved to a perfect 10-0 lifetime against the O’s (13 starts), joining Jon Lester (14-0) and Red Faber (12-0) as the only pitchers in MLB history to win each of his first 10 career decisions against Orioles/Browns franchise. Won his 6th game of the year on 6/8 vs. HOU, tossing 6.0 innings of 2-run ball (4H, 2BB, 2K)…Marked his 7th quality start of the season. Pitched 5.2 frames of shutout ball on 5/28 at MIN (4H, 5BB, 5K)…Became the winningest pitcher in Target Field history, earning his 33rd career victory to break a tie with Kyle Gibson (32). Worked 7.0 shutout frames on 4/25 vs. CWS, scattering 4 singles and a walk with a season-high 9 strikeouts…Completed 7.0 innings in consecutive starts for the 13th time in his career (last: 3G from 6/4- 15/22)…Has allowed 3 runs over his last 3 starts, posting a 1.42 ERA (3 ER/19.0 IP) with a pair of walks and 18 punchouts.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:
Drafted in the 1st round (32nd overall) by the Twins in 2012. Pitched for Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, going 1-0, 8.10 ERA (6.2 IP, 6 ER) with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Named to 2018 and 2019 AL All-Star teams, pitching 1.0 inning in both games. Acquired by Toronto from Minnesota on 7/30/21 in exchange for INF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson. In 2021, set a career high with 204 strikeouts, good for 5th in the AL…His 3.52 ERA was 5th best in the AL while his 192.0 innings pitched ranked 2nd.

VS. THE ORIOLES:
Facing the Orioles for the 2nd time this season and the 14th time in his career…Tossed 7.2 shutout frames on 6/14 at Camden Yards (3H, BB, 5K)… Is one of three pitchers in MLB history to begin his career 10-0 against the Orioles franchise, joining Jon Lester (14-0) and Red Faber (12-0)…Has allowed 3ER or fewer in 12 of 13 career meetings with the O’s, posting 10 quality starts…Pitched at least 6.0 frames in all 7 career visits to Camden Yards…His club has won each of his last 12 starts vs. BAL.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES NOTES:

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Orioles beat the Blue Jays last night, 7-0, to force the rubber match tonight…Baltimore scored five runs in the eighth inning…Anthony Santander hit two home runs, solo blasts in the fifth and eighth frames, while Dean Kremer earned his 12th win after throwing 6.0 scoreless innings.  Marked the eighth shutout of the year for the Orioles; they’ve thrown 23 shutouts since the start of 2022, fourth-most in the AL and tied for 10th in MLB.

Kremer is one of 10 MLB pitchers and one of four in the AL, including teammate Kyle Gibson, with at least 12 wins; Baltimore is one of two teams with multiple pitchers having 12-or-more wins along with Atlanta (Strider & Morton); Gibson and Kremer are the first pair of O’s teammates with 12+ wins in a season since Wei-Yin Chen (16), Bud Norris (15), and Chris Tillman (13) all did so in 2014.  Santander recorded his third multi-homer game this season and 13th of his career, the ninth-most games with 2+ home runs in O’s history (since 1954); Cal Ripken, Jr. leads the club with 21 such games as an Oriole.

BURNING RUBBER: The Orioles and Blue Jays square off in a rubber game in tonight’s series finale…The Orioles have gone 10-7 in rubber games this season after going 11-11 in such games last year.

BEAST OF THE EAST: Baltimore has gone 10 straight sets against AL East opponents without losing a series for the first time since August 1 to September 30, 2012 (11), per the Elias Sports Bureau…A win tonight would tie the longest such active division streak in MLB with the Braves, who extended their NL East streak to 11 by taking two of three against the Mets earlier this week…The Orioles are 25-15 (.625) against the AL East this season.

MAKING THEIR PITCH: The O’s have a 3.56 ERA (163 ER/411.2 IP) since July 1, the third-best team ERA in MLB during that time behind Toronto (3.24) and Seattle (3.25)…The team has gone 30-16 (.652) over that period, tied for the second-most wins with Los Angeles-NL and trailing only Seattle (33).

MOUNT UP: Ryan Mountcastle has reached base safely in a career-high 28 straight games since July 21, the longest active streak in MLB (see box at right)…It is the longest onbase streak by an Orioles batter since Nick Markakis had a 38-game streak from July 5 to August 18, 2009…Mountcastle has recorded a hit in 21 of the last 23 games since July 28…His 12-game hitting streak, the second-longest of his career, was snapped on August 11 at Seattle…Mountcastle is slashing .378/.460/.568 (28-for-74) with two doubles, four home runs, 15 runs scored, 15 RBI, 12 walks, and one stolen base in 20 games in August…Entering today, he ranks among MLB leaders this month in on-base percentage (2nd), batting average (3rd), and hits (10th)…He’s reached base safely in all 31 of his starts since returning from the Injured List on July 9 while batting .373/.441/.600 (41-for-110) with seven doubles, six homers, 22 runs scored, 21 RBI, 15 walks, and one stolen base in those games.

STATING HIS CASE: Gunnar Henderson leads AL rookies and ranks second among MLB rookies with 4.2 bWAR; he also leads AL rookies and is fourth among MLB rookies with 3.0 fWAR…He leads AL rookies runs (71) and triples (6) while ranking among rookie league leaders in extra-base hits (T-1st, 47), home runs (2nd, 21), RBI (T-2nd, 61), hits (3rd, 102), walks (3rd, 47), total bases (3rd, 197), and doubles (T-4th, 20)…Among AL rookies with at least 400 plate appearances, he ranks second in slugging (.479) and third in on-base percentage (.328) and OPS (.808).  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.  He is also the fourth O’s rookie to hit six triples and the first since Al Bumbry (11) and Rich Coggins (9) in 1973.  Henderson is three stolen bases 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 first in the AL since Bobby Witt Jr. last season.

He leads the O’s with nine Defensive Runs Saved, per Sports Info Solutions; seven of those are at shortstop, tied for seventh in MLB despite playing over 300 fewer innings at the position than anyone ahead of him.

SWEEPLESS IN BALTIMORE: The Orioles have gone 80 consecutive series of at least two decisions (no ties) without being swept…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most consecutive series without getting swept in O’s history, ahead of 46 consecutive sweepless series from 1971-72…It 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)…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).

WHAT’S TRENDING: The O’s have won seven of their last 10 games, eight of 12, 15 of 22, 16 of 24, 29 of 42, and 30 of 45…At 78-48 (.619), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB (see box at right)…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 Birds are 140-97 (.591) since June 2022, the second-best record in the AL and fourth-best in MLB during that time.  The O’s hold a 2.0-game lead over the Rays in the AL East entering today.

FEELS GOOD TO BE HOME: The Orioles began a nine-game homestand with the first of three games against the Blue Jays on Tuesday…The Orioles will host the Rockies for three games from August 25-27 and the White Sox for three to conclude the homestand from August 28-30.  The Orioles are 37-24 (.607) at home this season, the third-best home record in the AL and the fifth-best in MLB.

BATTLE OF THE BIRDS: The O’s and Jays complete their season series against each other this week…Baltimore clinched the season series over Toronto before this current set began and have gone 9-3 through the first 12 games, including finishing 6-1 north of the border… The O’s swept a three-game series at Rogers Centre from May 19-21, took two of three at Oriole Park from June 13-15, and three of four at Rogers Centre from July 31 to August 3… Since the start of 2022, the O’s hold an 18-13 (.581) edge over the Blue Jays.  Ryan Mountcastle went 11-for-13 with four doubles, five runs scored, six RBI, three walks, and one stolen base during the four-game set in Toronto from July 31 to August 3…The 11 hits are tied with Merv Rettenmund (September 24-26, 1971 at Cleveland) for the most in a four-game series since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954.

STATE OF THE FARM: For the second straight year, Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline have named the Orioles the top farm system in baseball in their midseason rankings…The O’s have seven prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100 (see box at right) and six in the MLB Pipeline list; Jackson Holliday is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by both outlets.

ROSTER MOVES: The Orioles reinstated left-handed pitcher Danny Coulombe (left biceps tendonitis) from the 15-day Injured List and optioned left-handed pitcher Nick Vespi to Triple-A Norfolk.

STARTING PITCHER – #48 KYLE GIBSON RHP
QUICK HITS: Scheduled to make his 27th start of the season, 11th at home, and 14th career start against the Blue Jays tonight…Entering play today, Gibson is one of 10 MLB pitchers and four AL hurlers, including teammate Dean Kremer, with at least 12 wins…Baltimore is one of two teams with multiple pitchers having 12-ormore wins along with Atlanta (Strider & Morton)…Gibson and Kremer are the first pair of O’s teammates with 12-plus wins in a season since Wei-Yin Chen (16), Bud Norris (15), and Chris Tillman (13) all did so in 2014…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)…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: Earned the win in his last start on August 18 at Oakland…Allowed four runs on nine hits with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings…Did not issue a walk in a start for the fifth time this season (last: 7/25 at PHI)…His 12 victories are one shy of his career high (13 in 2014 and 2019 w/ MIN)…Has failed to complete 6.0 innings in back-to-back starts after doing so in his previous four outings from July 20 to August 5…Threw 95 pitches, 62 strikes.

O CANADA: Making his 14th career start against the Blue Jays tonight…Earned the win in his last outing against Toronto on July 31 at Rogers Centre…Surrendered one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 6.0+ innings…Left with one runner on, who was stranded…Marked his third consecutive quality start and 12th on the season… Also marked his 99th career win…Threw 97 pitches, 60 strikes…Has won four of his last five starts against Toronto dating back to 2019…Owns a 7-2 record with a 4.23 ERA (36 ER/76.2 IP) in his 13 career outings against the AL East foe.

BEAST IN THE EAST: Is slated to make his 62nd career appearance (61st start) against the AL East…Has pitched to a 25-21 record with a 4.38 ERA (170 ER/349.0 IP) and 25 quality starts in 61 career outings against the division.

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 13 quality starts are tied for the team lead (Bradish and Kremer) and are tied for 10th-most in the American League.

ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN: Gibson earned his 12th win in his last outing on August 18 at Oakland, his 26th start of the season…His 12 victories are one shy of his career high (13 in 2014 and 2019 w/ MIN) and are tied for second-most in the AL entering tonight’s game.

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 MLB pitchers to record 100+ punchouts in nine of the last 10 seasons, along with Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer.

HOW SWEEP IT IS: Opposing batters are slashing .151/.162/.226 (16-for-106) with four extra-base hits (2-2B, 2 HR) against Gibson’s sweeper this season…Has recorded 43 strikeouts via the offspeed pitch, tied for sixth-most in MLB…Last season, hitters slashed .214/.214/.357 (6-for-28) with two extra-base hits (2B, HR) against his sweeper.

HOMER (UN)HAPPY: Gibson has allowed just 15 home runs in 150.1 innings across his 26 starts; entering play today, he ranks among qualified AL pitchers in HR/9 (3rd, 0.90)… Did not allow a homer in five straight starts from May 14 to June 6, his longest such streak since keeping opponents in the yard in seven straight outings from September 26, 2020 to April 29, 2021 with Texas.

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