Throughout the gauntlet that is this Orioles’ May schedule, the O’s have never really looked out matched. That is until the first two games of this series against Texas. After getting demolished in Friday’s game and losing a closer affair on Saturday, Baltimore comes into today’s game looking to salvage a win against the red-hot Rangers.
Of the seven straight series the O’s have played this month, this series against the Rangers is only the second they lost. Today is also the first time they head into a series finale without the chance to win the series. All and all, that’s a great month and should give some perspective to any Orioles fan who feel a little doom and gloom after the last two loses.
Today’s game still feels like a bit of a referendum on the success of these young Orioles in the early season. Just as this ball club set out at the beginning of May to prove they can hang with baseball’s best, the O’s will take the field today looking to prove a different point. A win today and Baltimore can show that even when they’re not playing their best, they can still come out and compete against the AL’s best. Losing series never feels good, but going 1-2 instead of being swept in May can still pay important dividends come September and October.
Baltimore turns to Kyle Bradish today to right their teetering ship and send the O’s into their next series with a win. Bradish’s May has been mostly good; a 3.18 ERA this month while going at least five innings in every start is a nice rebound from two shaky outings to end April.
Bradish actually made his first start of the season against Texas in Arlington, but only lasted 1.2 innings after a line drive off his foot forced him to leave that start early. The second-year right has been better on the road than at Camden Yards, but his last home start was extremely encouraging. In that outing he went 6.2 innings against the Angels, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out five. If Bradish can bring that form to the mound today, he stands a great chance of slowing down these firey Texas bats and giving the O’s a chance to take the series finale.
Standing in the way of the O’s offense will be left-hander Cody Bradford. The 25-year old rookie and Texas native is making his second big league start and first away from Arlington. His MLB debut didn’t go great, as he gave up six runs over five innings to Atlanta and allowed two two-run HRs in same inning. Despite their struggles against lefty Andrew Heaney on Saturday, the O’s have been better against left-handed pitching this season. Against left-handed starters in particular, the Orioles are hitting .260 and hit a HR every 22.4 ABs—compared to homering every 32 ABs against right-handed starters.
Hopefully, the O’s offense can kick into a higher gear and give Bradford a rude welcome to Camden Yards. Despite only scoring one-run off Heaney Saturday, the offense still put in good swings. The Orioles suffered from some unlucky breaks, as 10 hard hits balls off Heaney only turned into four hits. Despite going only 6-30 on Saturday, the O’s actually had a higher xBA than Texas—coming in at .348 to the Rangers .317. While baseball doesn’t always work this way, perhaps the batted ball luck shifts around back into the Orioles this afternoon.
- Cedric Mullins (L) CF
- Adley Rutschman (S) C
- Austin Hays (R) LF
- Anthony Santander (S) RF
- Ryan Mountcastle (R) 1B
- Ramón Urías (R) 2B
- Gunnar Henderson (L) 3B
- James McCann (R) DH
- Jorge Mateo (R) SS
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Bradish (2-1, 4.34 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
- Marcus Semien (R) 2B
- Corey Seager (L) SS
- Nathaniel Lowe (L) 1B
- Adolis García (R) DH
- Josh Jung (R) 3B
- Jonah Heim (S) C
- Travis Jankowski (L) LF
- Robbie Grossman (S) RF
- Leody Tavares (S) CF
Starting pitcher: Cody Bradford (0-1, 10.80 ERA, 1.80 WHIP)