After taking just one of three in Tampa, the Orioles will be looking to end their road trip on a high note during a three-night stay in Arlington before returning home to kick off a seven-game home stand versus Kansas City and Detroit.
With the Orioles still on the outside looking in, every single series remaining on the schedule holds a crucial meaning. They can’t afford to drop games and series like they did earlier this week, and with the majority of the teams in playoff contention gaining momentum as we approach the end of July, the margin for error grows smaller and smaller by the day.
Long story short, the window for a playoff push is slamming shut, and the Orioles need to go on a winning tear to force it to stay open. It’s either win or get left out in the cold.
The Orioles (48-53) still find themselves in fourth place in the division and seven games behind the Red Sox at the top of the table, but their slip-up in Tampa has cost them ground in the wild card chase and they now trail the Royals by 5.5-games for the second wild card spot in the AL. The Orioles struggles on the road have proven to be their Achilles heel this season, as evidenced by their 18-32 record away from Camden Yards. They’ve gone a dismal 11-26 while on tour since the start of May. Also, after not getting the results they needed at Tropicana Field, the Orioles have notched just a 9-13 record during the month of July and a 6-7 mark after the All-Star Break.
The Rangers (49-52) have been blown out of the water by the first-place Astros in the AL West, and after taking just one of three at home versus Miami, they’ve also lost ground to KC in the wild card chase and find themselves 4.5-games outside of the playoff picture. The Rangers now own a 26-22 record at home and have posted just a 9-12 record in front of their hometown fans since the start of June. They’ve also gone just 10-16 versus the AL East during the current campaign.
After sweeping the Rangers over a four-game set at Camden Yards just over a week ago, the Orioles will be looking to do a little more of the same this time around while Texas will be looking for a little bit of revenge. As a result of their latest meeting, the Orioles now boast a 19-13 advantage over their current hosts since the start of the 2013 campaign.
Will the Orioles fly home with a few more much-needed W’s under their wings, or will the Rangers execute their vendetta against the Birds?
We’re about to find out. Let’s take a look at the starters.
Tillman put in a solid effort during his last start versus Houston by allowing three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, but is still looking for his first notch in the win column since his first start of the season on May 7th. Nonetheless, Tillman seems to be returning close to his top form as he’s posted a rock-solid 3.31 ERA over his last three starts and 16 1/3 innings of work. The Orioles are 5-8 when their veteran leader takes the mound this season. Over eight career starts versus Texas, Tillman owns a 3-2 record and a 4.89 ERA.
Cashner also put in a solid shift during his last start against Tampa Bay by allowing three runs on four hits over six innings, and has really stepped his game up as of late. The former Padre has posted a 2-1 record and a stellar 2.75 ERA over three starts and 19 2/3 innings this month. Cashner has also been superb over six starts at home this season, going 2-2 with an excellent 2.50 ERA.
Kevin Gausman (7-7, 5.79 ERA) will take the mound against Austin Bibens-Dirx (3-0, 4.53 ERA) on Saturday.
After silencing the Rays to the sound of allowing just five hits over six scoreless innings in his last start, the red-hot Gausman looks to be locked in and ready to go for the home stretch. He’s now recorded a microscopic 0.75 ERA over his last two starts after allowing just a single run over twelve innings of work to go along with sixteen strikeouts. Over his last six outings, the LSU alum has gone a perfect 4-0 while recording a solid 4.02 ERA. He’s also allowed one or zero runs in four of his past six contests. In six career games (five starts) versus Texas, Gausman has gone 2-2 with a 3.58 ERA.
Bibens-Dirx will be making his first start since allowing four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings versus the White Sox on June 30th, but he’s also had a decent bit of success in recent memory. The 32-year-old rookie has notched a 2-0 record and an impressive 3.65 ERA over his last four starts. He’s also gone seven innings while allowing just a single run in two of his last four starts. He’ll be making his first career start versus the Birds in this match-up.
Miley was undone by a second-inning nightmare during his last start in Tampa and finished the game having allowed five runs on five hits over six innings. The Orioles southpaw has recorded a 2-6 record and a 9.69 ERA over his last ten outings. He’s also struggled mightily over eleven starts away from Camden Yards this season, going 2-5 with a 6.26 ERA. Over eight career starts against the Rangers, Miley has gone just 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA.
Perez was good enough to win during his last start versus Miami as he allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings, but ended up in the loss column. The Rangers southpaw has gone 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA over his last three outings. Perez has also been inconsistent over twelve starts in Arlington and owns a 4-5 record and a 4.70 ERA in front of the home crowd this season. Over five career starts versus the Birds, the native Venezuelan owns a 2-2 record and a 4.70 ERA.
That’s it for now, Birdland!
Enjoy the weekend, and here’s to coming home on a high note!