Late-game drama is becoming the norm for the Baltimore Orioles, particularly in the past week.
Now they go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Texas Rangers on Wednesday night, knowing they’d be wise to tap into some of their newfound momentum.
“To be able to bang with them, it says a lot about our character,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Both teams might need to restock their bullpens after consecutive 10-inning games that were accompanied by late-game struggles from the mound.
Beginning with the top of the seventh on Tuesday, the teams combined to score in seven of the remaining eight half-innings.
For the Orioles, four of their past five games have been decided by walkoffs. There were two losses in Minnesota and now the two wins at home.
Overall, the Orioles have a winning streak of at least three games for just the third time this season. Their season-high was a four-game run from June 22-25. Baltimore has won six of its past eight home games.
The Rangers are miffed because they were one out away from winning in each of the first two games in the series.
“Pitches we gave up just got too much of the plate,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “That’s something we pride ourselves late in the games not to give up pull-side damage. To happen twice in a couple innings is a little bit frustrating. We’ve got to be better next time.”
Texas has lost five of its past six games, with four of those setbacks coming by one run.
Woodward said he was proud of how the Rangers showed determination in the Tuesday game. They wiped out a 4-0 deficit, then came back from a 7-4 hole and also an 8-7 deficit.
But the recent games have been taxing.
“We basically used everybody,” Woodward said. “We were pretty thin in the bullpen. They gave it everything they had.”
The Orioles have produced ninth-inning heroics this week. A two-out RBI double from rookie Adley Rutschman extended the Monday game, and Rougned Odor’s two-out home run tied the Tuesday contest.
Odor has provided the Orioles with a certain element that Hyde embraces.
“He is all about winning,” Hyde said. “A warrior, and he’s inspirational. He’s got energy and he loves to play. A tough dude.”
Baltimore will use right-hander Spenser Watkins (1-1, 4.61 ERA) as its starting pitcher Wednesday. Since rejoining the Orioles late last month, he has given up just two runs (one earned) in two starts covering a combined 11 innings.
The Rangers will call on right-hander Glenn Otto (4-4, 5.63 ERA). He has struggled in his past two outings, taking a pair of losses while surrendering 10 runs on 10 hits in six innings. He has been hurt by issuing three walks while striking out just one in each of those two games following a three-game stretch when he was the winning pitcher in each game.
Watkins has never faced Texas. Otto lost in his lone appearance vs. the Orioles, when he yielded two runs in five innings during a 2021 start at Baltimore.
Baltimore outfielder Austin Hays was out for the Tuesday game because of an ailing right wrist. He is day-to-day.
–Field Level Media