Series Preview: Orioles prepare to face Rangers for first time this season

BALTIMORE — In the weeks leading up to the All-Star break, the Orioles looked like a team that could benefit the most from an extended break. The starting pitching slumped for well over a month and the bullpen got overused as a result.

However, after watching the series against the Cubs over the weekend, it appears that a weeks worth of rest is still not enough to stabilize the starting rotation. Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez turned in three terrible performances against Chicago. All 27 runs surrendered to Chicago helped give the O’s a combined ERA of 5.16, which currently stands as the worst in Major League Baseball.

The Texas Rangers currently sit at 45-46, but find themselves pretty much out of division contention as they trail the Houston Astros by over 16 games. Despite this, the Rangers are still very much in contention for a wild card spot and have the pieces necessary to compete.

Last Meeting: This will mark the first time these two teams meet in the 2017 season. Their last series came at the beginning of this past August. Both teams led their divisions and were trying to maintain their spot as the final stretch of the season approached. The O’s ended up taking two of three from the Rangers to hold a slim lead over Boston and Toronto in the AL East.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday, July 17, 7:05 pm – Chris Tillman (1-5, 7.90 ERA) vs Andrew Cashner (4-7, 3.54 ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, July 18, 7:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.33 ERA) vs Tyson Ross (2-1, 5.33 ERA)

Game 3: Wednesday, July 19, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (5-7, 6.39 ERA) vs Martin Perez (5-6, 4.55 ERA)

Game 4: Thursday, July 20, 7:05 pm – Wade Miley (4-8, 5.40 ERA) vs Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.05 ERA)

Notes on the Rangers:

  • The Texas offense is led by veteran short stop Elvis Andrus. The 28-year-old did not make the All-Star roster this past week but he is on his way to having a career year at the plate. Andrus’ .295 batting average is accompanied by 11 home runs, 50 RBI’s and 20 stolen bases.
  • Much like the Orioles, the Rangers have experienced their share of inconsistent pitching this season. Looking at their 4.24 team ERA, its easy to see why the Rangers float around the .500 mark. Besides Cole Hamels, the starting rotation has been a roller coaster all season.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • If the Orioles are going to turn things around in the second half it has to start with the pitching. A few of the current starters have been known to post better numbers in the second half. In Kevin Gausman’s five major league seasons, he holds a 4.94 first half ERA and a 3.86 second half ERA.
  • How many times have you heard that Manny Machado is heating up this season? Probably a lot, but if you go back to before the All-Star break, Machado is hitting .333 in his last 10 games with six RBI’s. Maybe this will finally be the month that Manny returns to his usual self.
  • This weekend Ken Rosenthal reported that the Orioles are preparing to become sellers in the coming weeks. Relievers Zach Britton, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach have had their names thrown around the market. Rosenthal also stated that the team is refusing to hear offers for Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Mychal Givens.

What’s next: After this four game series against the Rangers, the Orioles close out the home stand with a weekend series against the American League-leading Astros.

Image Credit: Associated Press

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