Kyle Bradish and John Means are back, and their impact for the Baltimore Orioles was immediate.

Bradish allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings in a win over the New York Yankees on Thursday, then Means threw seven scoreless frames in a victory at Cincinnati on Saturday night. Both pitchers were making their season debuts after they began spring training with arm-related injuries. The Orioles got off to a good start even without them, but if Bradish and Means are healthy and effective, that would give Baltimore another boost as it tries to repeat as AL East champion.

Bradish in particular was a major part of Baltimore’s rotation in 2023 — and ultimately the Game 1 starter in the playoffs. Means returned from Tommy John surgery late last season, but prior to that lengthy absence he was the top starter on a much less talented Orioles team.

Baltimore recently lost second-year right-hander Grayson Rodriguez to the injured list, but the Orioles — who already have an imposing lineup led by Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman — are on quite a run on the mound. They allowed two runs total in a three-game sweep in Cincinnati, and they’ve held the opposition to two runs or fewer in seven consecutive games.

The Orioles won the AL East last year thanks to a 32-20 record against the rest of the division — they won the season series against each of the other four teams. This year they’ve already swept a three-game series at Boston and won three of four over the Yankees at home. Baltimore is 12-0-4 in its last 16 series against AL East foes.

CLASH OF THE TITANS

The Atlanta Braves finished with baseball’s best record last year, and the Los Angeles Dodgers did it the season before. They’re currently the top two favorites to win the World Series. This past weekend, they faced each other for the first time in 2024, with the Dodgers sweeping three straight games at home.

Rookie Andy Pages had four hits Friday night, including the winning single in the 11th inning, and then the Dodgers won the next two games by a combined 16-3.

TRIVIA TIME

Who was the last team to finish with the best regular-season record in baseball in back-to-back seasons?

LINE OF THE WEEK

Max Muncy hit three home runs — the first time in his career he’d done that — to lift the Dodgers to an 11-2 rout of Atlanta on Saturday night.

COMEBACK OF THE WEEK

The Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins have the two worst records in the National League, so maybe no lead is safe when they face each other. On Tuesday night, Colorado scored five runs in the top of the first, and there was no further scoring until the bottom of the ninth, when the Marlins tied it with five runs of their own. The first seven Miami hitters in the ninth reached base.

After the Rockies went back ahead with a run in the 10th, Bryan De La Cruz tied it with a one-out double for Miami, then scored on a single by Dane Myers for a 7-6 win. After eight innings, Colorado had a win probability of 99.5% according to Baseball Savant.

The blown lead also meant the Rockies set an ignominious record that night, becoming the first team since 1900 to trail in each of its first 29 games. That streak reached 31 before Colorado finally ended it in a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Friday night.

TRIVIA ANSWER

The Philadelphia Phillies, who went 97-65 in 2010 and 102-60 in 2011.

The top records for each season since then:

2012: Washington (98-64)

2013: Boston and St. Louis (97-65)

2014: Los Angeles Angels (98-64)

2015: St. Louis (100-62)

2016: Chicago Cubs (103-58)

2017: Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58)

2018: Boston (108-54)

2019: Houston (107-55)

2020: Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17)

2021: San Francisco (107-55)

2022: Los Angeles Dodgers (111-51)

2023: Atlanta (104-58)

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