The Game of O Blog: The Road Trip Series and Finale

TORONTO – The Orioles and Blue Jays have gone 22 innings since the seventh inning Monday night at Rogers Center and the cumulative score is Orioles 13, Blue Jays 13.

After dividing back-to-back decisions into one inning, these teams play the fourth and final game of the series this afternoon. On Monday, heading into the seventh inning, Toronto built a big lead en route to an 11-1 win. On Tuesday night, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays homered in Baltimore’s 6-5 win. Last night, that same duo combined to produce three runs in the eighth to forge a 6-6 tie before Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s hit in the tenth gave Toronto a 7-6 win.

The Orioles (27-37) have now played 64 games with 98 still to play. With a .422 winning percentage, they are on course for a 68-94 final record.

Even with Wednesday’s loss, the Orioles have won three of their last five games and are 5-5 in the last 10 games and 13-13 in the last 26 games. They are 12-22 in road games but 3-4 on this trip.

The O’s continue to smash the circuits. Adley Rutschman’s first major league home run was a two-run shot in the fourth quarter last night that went 411 feet to the right center of Toronto starter José Berríos. Ryan Mountcastle homered twice – a solo shot in the seventh that cut the O’s deficit to 6-3 and a two-run tying homer down the middle in the eighth. Mountcastle 11e and 12e the year’s homers traveled 424 and 413 feet, respectively, and gave him the team lead by one over Anthony Santander, who is on this series’ shortlist.

Mountcastle produced his second multi-home game of the year and fifth of his career. Three of those games were against the Toronto pitchers. In 28 career games against the Blue Jays, he is averaging .345 (38 for 110) with four doubles, 12 home runs, 21 RBIs and a 1.109 OPS.

Mountcastle also had its second career game of three extra hits on Tuesday night. He’s 5 for 9 the last two nights with two doubles and three home runs. On that road trip, Mountcastle is 9-for-26 (.346) with three doubles, four home runs, seven runs and six RBIs in seven games.

The Baltimore batters have homered five in the last two games and eight in the last four. Last night at game time, the Baltimore batters had hit 20 home runs, the fifth-most of any AL team in June.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (37-25) continue to play winning baseball. But despite posting the third-best record of any AL team, they are nine games behind the Yankees 46-16 (.742).

Toronto is 6-3 in its last nine games. The Blue Jays are 20-11 at home and 11-11 against opponents AL East. They have won eight of their last nine games with the Orioles, dating to last season, beating the Birds 95-41 in all nine games.

Guerrero smashed his 16th homer of the year leading the team, a solo shot to lead the 5th inning last night. Of his 16 longballs this season, 13 have traveled at least 400 feet. He drove in his first career RBI, leading to Bo Bichette and finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. It was his third career four-hit game. Over his last six games, he’s 13-for-27 (.481) with one brace, three homers and eight RBIs and 1.369 OPS.

Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer in third, his ninth homer of the season. Chapman has homered in consecutive games for the first time this year and the 16th of his career. In his last 14 games, he went 17 for 52 (.327) with three doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs.

Former Oriole Kevin Gausman (5-5, 2.67 ERA) will face his former team for the first time today. Gausman made 12 starts with 70 2/3s allowing just two home runs and 10 walks with 77 strikeouts. He has a 0.3 homer rate, a 1.3 walk rate and a 9.8 strikeout rate.

In 33 games for San Francisco last year, he went 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA in 33 starts and finished sixth in NL Cy Young Award voting. In December, he signed a five-year, $110 million contract with Toronto. Not bad for a pitcher once unoffered by the Cincinnati Reds. The Orioles selected him No. 4 overall from LSU in the 2012 draft. For his big league career at Baltimore, he went 39-51 with a 4.22 ERA which was exactly the average of the league at 100 in ERA+ for his time with the Orioles.

Gausman, who has a FIP of 1.76, uses his fastball 50% of the time, throwing it at 94.6 mph on average. His split-finger usage is now at 35%, well up from his time in Baltimore.

Right-hander Tyler Wells (3-4, 3.86 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles. He is coming off his third career quality start when he allowed three runs in six innings Saturday at Kansas City. In his last four starts, he is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA allowing a 0.187 opponents average and 0.571 OPS.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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