The Baltimore Orioles are coming off of dropping three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays and will welcome the Texas Rangers to Camden Yards for another four game series beginning tonight.
Today we will take a look at some of the numbers and see what the pitching matchups are for the series as the Orioles remain just 1 1/2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East.
- Monday – Joe Saunders (0-4, 5.19 ERA) vs Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8, 4.70 ERA)
- Tuesday – Nick Martinez (1-5, 4.65 ERA) vs TBA (We believe it will be T.J. McFarland)
- Wednesday – Nick Tepesch (3-3, 3.65 ERA) vs Chris Tillman (7-4, 4.18 ERA)
- Thursday – Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.42 ERA) vs TBA (We believe it will Kevin Gausman)
As you can see, the Orioles are still trying to figure out the starting rotation with Bud Norris on the DL and Baltimore likely dealing with a 24-man roster here soon with Manny Machado's suspension appeal results likely to come during this series. The Orioles have not announced starters for Tuesday or Thursday but we believe it is pretty likely that McFarland will get a spot start on Tuesday since he is already on the roster, and is the strongest of the possible candidates. On Thursday, we believe Gausman will be back as he would be eligible to return from the Minors and it would give Wei-Yin Chen an extra day's rest, which is a benefit any time you can do for Chen.
Baltimore's pitching staff had been performing much better in June, that is until the lowly offense of the Rays showed up as the Orioles allowed a total of 23 runs in the four game series, with 12 of those coming in Sunday's loss. Chris Tillman was the only starter for the Orioles in the four game series to produce a quality start.
After facing one of the worst offenses in baseball in the Rays, Baltimore will now be facing one of the better offenses in the game in the Rangers. Texas currently ranks fifth in average at .262, 12th in OPS at .707, and 12th in runs scored. It is not the overly explosive offense that the league has become accustomed to over the last four or five years, but Texas can still put runs on the board. The Orioles pitchers will need to have a bounce back series as they try to turn their current 11 game home stand around as Baltimore is 3-4 entering the series.
The Birds have a pretty good offense themselves and will need to take advantage of a Rangers pitching staff that has been brutalized with injuries this season and is greatly struggling with the guys that have been able to pitch. Texas is next to last in all of baseball with a 4.53 ERA, dead last with a 1.47 WHIP, have walked the ninth most hitters with 266, and have allowed 15 more hits than any other pitching staff in all of baseball.
The Orioles have somewhat squandered a golden opportunity over the last ten games as the Blue Jays have lost six of their last ten, but the Orioles have only been one game better at 5-5, and still trail Toronto by 1 1/2 games and don't look now, but the Boston Red Sox are now just six games behind the Jays and are getting close to making it a four-team race.
Baltimore will need to perform much better on the mound this series and in a perfect world take three out of four to at least give them a winning record on their 11-game home stand. The Orioles could move to one game behind the Jays with a win tonight as Toronto is off today. Texas and Baltimore get the series going tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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