O’s Gaming Blog: Orioles even seek playoffs in Toronto

TORONTO – After a resounding loss Monday night, the Orioles are looking to even their streak against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Rogers Centre. This is the second in a four-game series.

Toronto (36-24) beat the Orioles 19-5 in Game 1 of the series and had six extra hits in the win. The Blue Jays went 14-5 against Baltimore in 2021, including an 8-2 mark at home, and last night was the first meeting this season between the clubs. Toronto has beaten the Orioles seven straight since last year.

The Orioles’ top-down nature shows an 8-1 loss Friday at Kansas City and an 11-1 loss last night. But they won back-to-back games against the Royals between those losses, scoring 16 points.

Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah, the American League ERA leader, blanked Baltimore on a six-inning hit. But in the seventh, against reliever Julian Merryweather, Adley Rutschman produced a one-out hit and then scored on Kyle Stowers’ double to left center, which was his first major league and RBI hit. Stowers went 1 for 3 and was hit by a pitch in the final inning.

The Orioles (26-36) are 4-4 in their last eight games and 12-12 in their last 24. They are 11-21 on the road, but 5-6 over the last 11 and 2-3 on this eight-game trip. The Orioles went 7-14 in April and 14-16 in May, and are 5-6 this month.

Toronto sits second in the AL East, one game ahead of Tampa Bay, but they are eight games behind division-leading New York. They have the third-best record in the AL and have won five of seven and 14 of 18 games. As the Blue Jays were just one game above .500 on May 15, they are 18-7.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3 for 5 with a solo homer and three RBIs in Monday’s win. His eighth-inning shot traveled 432 feet and was his 12e homer of the year of 400 feet or more. And he continues to plague Baltimore pitchers. He hit 12 home runs against the O’s last season, the most by any player that year against any team. For his career in 46 games against Baltimore, he hit 17 homers with 44 RBIs.

The Orioles bullpen had a rare streak of back-to-back bad games and allowed 11 runs in 7 2/3 innings combined Sunday and Monday.

On the mound tonight is right-hander Jordan Lyles (3-5, 4.97 ERA), looking to reverse a recent slide. Lyles made 12 starts for his new team and his ERA was 4.10 after his first nine. But in his last three games, he’s allowed 13 earned runs and 26 hits in 14 1/3 innings as his opponents batted .394 with a 1.051 OPS against him. He allowed a season-high six runs in five innings Thursday against Kansas City.

While Lyles is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts at home, he is 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA on the road. He didn’t allow a homer in 30 2/3 innings at Camden Yards, but allowed nine in 36 1/3 away from Baltimore.

The Orioles are 4-8 in Lyles outings. He threw 90 or more pitches nine times and 100 or more pitches three times.

Southpaw Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 4.44 ERA) will make his 12e departure for Toronto. On the year, he allowed 41 hits in 46 2/3 innings with 28 walks and 52 strikeouts. He has a 1.479 WHIP with a 5.4 walk rate and 10.0 strikeout rate.

Kikuchi had just two outs in his last outing, Wednesday against Kansas City, giving up two hits and three runs with four walks of 45 pitches. In the previous game, he allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3.

The Blue Jays are just 3-8 in his games, and he’s 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.141 WHIP at home. He’s pitched six or more innings just twice this year and has just two quality starts.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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