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Orioles-Rangers series preview: A battle of two rebuilding organizations

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It’s back to the road as the Orioles head to Arlington, Texas, for three games against another AL West opponent. This time it’s the rebuilding Rangers.

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Few teams entered the 2021 season with expectations as low as the Orioles, but the Rangers are one of those teams. They traded away Lance Lynn and Elvis Andrus over the winter and look to be headed for a lengthy rebuild inside their new stadium.

But it’s not all bad news. Joey Gallo is still here with the three true outcome approach that has made him into one of baseball’s better pure sluggers. He’s joined in the lineup by first baseman Nate Lowe, who came over via a December trade with the Rays, and former Rockies top prospect David Dahl. A few other names you might recognize on the Texas offense include the other Khris Davis, former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt, and catcher Jonah Heim, a 2013 Orioles draft pick who is now on his fourth organization.

While the pitching staff may not include as many familiar faces, the Rangers staff has held its own so far. Their starters have a combined 3.55 ERA, the 10th-best mark in MLB. The bullpen has not had as much success, sporting a 4.88 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, and it now has to replace one of their late-inning arms as Matt Bush was just moved to the 60-day IL.

Game 1: Friday, April 16th, 8:05 p.m., MASN 2

Jorge Lopez (0-2, 11.42 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (0-2, 4.09 ERA)

It’s unclear how many times the Orioles are going to allow Lopez to start for them with poor results before trying another avenue. The right-hander has impressed during his first trip through a batting order with a .397 OPS, but that number has skyrocketed to 1.400 in his second time facing hitters. It would seem he can handle a big league role, but starter may not be it.

Foltynewicz had suddenly lost nearly five miles per hour on his fastball last season. He has regained nearly four ticks this year and looks poised for a bounceback. That said, the righty is walking 13.6% of batters and still giving up loads of hard contact.

Game 2: Saturday, April 17th, 7:05 p.m., MASN

TBD vs. Dane Dunning (1-0, 1.00 ERA)

It sounds like the Orioles are leaning towards Dean Kremer (0-1, 10.50 ERA) to start here, but that has not been determined just yet. The rainout on Monday pushed Kremer to start on Tuesday. If he were to pitch on Saturday he would be doing so on just three days of rest, although he did only throw 54 pitches in his most recent outing. Other candidates could be Wade LeBlanc, Tyler Wells, or Adam Plutko.

Dunning has been impressive in his first two starts for his new club. Over nine total innings the bespectacled hurler has allowed one run on five hits, two walks and 11 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .156 against him

Game 3: Sunday, April 18th, 2:35 p.m., MASN 2

John Means (1-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.05 ERA)

Even when John Means doesn’t have his best stuff, he still looks pretty good. That was the case on Tuesday, when he was struggling to locate but showed good velocity. He eventually settled down and retired 10 Mariners in a row. With the way that the Orioles offense is currently producing, the southpaw may need to be at his absolute best to earn a win.

Gibson has dominated in his last two starts, allowing one earned run over 13 total innings while striking out 11 and walking three. That followed an Opening Day collapse in which he served up five runs in just one-third of an inning against the Royals.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win against the Rangers in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    3 (The Orioles sweep)
    (8 votes)
  • 33%
    2
    (39 votes)
  • 51%
    1
    (59 votes)
  • 7%
    0 (The Orioles get swept)
    (9 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now