Dylan Bundy kicking off a series for the Orioles with Kevin Gausman set to go the next day is how you might have dreamed it up years ago. With the way the O's rotation is lined up now, that's exactly what we're getting. One night it's the 2011 #4 pick. The next night it's the 2012 #4 pick.
In this case, Gausman has quite a tough act to follow. Bundy put together about as impressive of a game as you are going to see in the non-no-hitter category. There isn't much room for improvement there. But then, Gausman doesn't have to be as good as Bundy was. He just has to be better than Cole Hamels. Oh, is that all?
Hamels is in the midst of a fantastic season, one that will probably find him in the Cy Young discussion at year's end. When it's August and you've made 21 starts and have a 2.84 ERA for a team that looks to be headed to the playoffs, that's what's going to happen. Hamels is good. The Orioles have beaten good pitchers before and will do so again, but they'll have their work cut out for them tonight.
They are, once again, defending sole possession of first place in the American League East tonight. While the Red Sox lost last night to fall two games back, the Blue Jays won, so they remain just one game back. An Orioles loss and a Jays win tonight and it's a tie atop the division - and in either case there are three teams within two games of the AL East lead. There is no margin for error.
|TEXAS RANGERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Jurickson Profar - LF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Ian Desmond - CF||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Carlos Beltran - DH||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Mark Trumbo - DH|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Jonathan Lucroy - C||Steve Pearce - RF|
|Nomar Mazara - RF||Matt Wieters - C|
|Mitch Moreland - 1B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Nolan Reimold - LF|
|Cole Hamels - LHP||Kevin Gausman - RHP|