The winning streak stands at three, which is a good number when dealing with the Holy Hand Grenade, but it is not as good as higher numbers when it comes to winning baseball games. The Orioles have it in them to win four in a row, although they'll have to triumph over Yu Darvish to do so.
It might also be something of an ugly, or possibly postponed, game, because the weather forecast is not favorable. It is going to storm. This is not convenient for the Orioles, who must play a day game in Boston for the Fourth of July. A sloppy, delayed game is not good - although a two hour rain delay that knocks out Darvish might be, if they get to play the rest.
In his MLB career, Darvish has faced 2,085 batters. He has struck out 30% of those batters. He has reached double digit strikeouts in five of his starts this year. Every year he's been in MLB, he's improved his ERA, and this year he's sporting his lowest mark yet despite an incredibly unfavorable BABIP of .311 that suggests he might even be unlucky. Batters are hitting .221 against Darvish while getting lucky.
Darvish throws like, every pitch that's ever been invented. He is officially unfair. Perhaps the Orioles can channel some of the magic from the wild card game two years ago if they get the game in tonight. The team with Joe Saunders starting beat the team with Darvish starting in a one game playoff. Anything is possible.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
2014: 16 GS, 92.1 IP, 4.19 ERA, 65 SO, 16 BB, .281 BAA, 1.30 WHIP
Last start (vs. Rays): 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 2 SO
It's safe to say that batters have been hitting Chen pretty hard lately. He's given up four home runs between his last two starts, and he only made it nine innings combined between the two games. That last mess against the Rays at home was particularly bad since the Rays aren't good. The Rangers, as we have seen so far this series, also aren't good, with injuries reducing them to a shell of their former selves.
One area where Texas hasn't struggled is hitting lefties. (Weirdly, neither have the Orioles.) The Rangers sit fourth best in the AL in OPS against lefties, batting .277/.337/.421 when facing southpaws. So, you know, here we go.
|TEXAS RANGERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Shin-Soo Choo - DH||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Steve Pearce - LF|
|Alex Rios - RF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Leonys Martin - CF||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Chris Gimenez - C||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Carlos Pena - 1B||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Michael Choice - LF||Ryan Flaherty - 3B|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Nick Hundley - C|
|Yu Darvish - RHP||Wei-Yin Chen - LHP|