The Orioles' 89th game last year was that horrible disaster in Minnesota that made me want to stab out my own eyes. They lost, 19-7, to fall to 46-43, 9 games back of the division lead. They lost game 90 in Minnesota as well, and then found themselves ten games back.
So, with a win against Texas tonight, they could be five games ahead of their place from last season. They will be three games better at the very least. More would not be terrible.
Unfortunately, tonight is a tough task for the team: they will be up against a strong-performing lefty in Derek Holland. After seeing some of the people who've shut down the O's lately, why would you have any reason to feel good about a lefty who's actually done well? 3.13 ERA! 107 strikeouts in 112 innings, with only 29 walks allowed. He is not homer-prone in the least. His strengths play to the Orioles' weaknesses, and he is also strong against the Orioles strengths. Welp.
Former Rangers starter and recent trade acquisition Scott Feldman gets the start for the Orioles tonight. He was with the Rangers up until this season, and is probably familiar with most of their hitters, though of course he hadn't pitched against them since he was on their team. If Feldman gets the ground balls, it'll be a good night for him and for us in turn. If not, well, you know.
Texas is strong against both lefties and righties, with a 34-26 record against righty starters. They currently have a 9-10 record against the AL East, which could turn around in a hurry in this series. We are not so far removed from the years where brutal beatdowns at the hands of the Rangers were par for the course.
On the other hand, we are just nine months removed from that time that Joe Saunders beat Yu Darvish in a one game playoff in Texas. It's easy to lose sight of that fact, even given that we experienced it not long ago. In one game, for all the marbles, the Orioles beat the Rangers. That was kind of awesome.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Nick Markakis RF||Ian Kinsler 2B|
|Manny Machado 3B||David Murphy LF|
|Adam Jones CF||Nelson Cruz DH|
|Chris Davis 1B||Adrian Beltre 3B|
|Matt Wieters C||A.J. Pierzynski C|
|J.J. Hardy SS||Mitch Moreland 1B|
|Nate McLouth LF||Elvis Andrus SS|
|Brian Roberts DH||Engel Beltre CF|
|Alexi Casilla 2B||Leonys Martin RF|