The Baltimore Orioles will today begin three games against the Texas Rangers. They say that everything in Texas is bigger than anywhere else. Having lived in Dallas for five great years of my life, there is some truth to that. But what would be great for the Orioles is to come away with three big wins. That would make them 6-4 on the road trip and 31-27 on the season.
One thing is for sure, when the Baltimore Orioles return home on Friday to face the Oakland A’s, the O’s will have played 35 of their 58 games on the road. They have to start winning at home.
These games will be a return to Texas also for Nelson Cruz. Even though leading the whole baseball world with 20 homers and 52 RBIs, the experience will surely be a strange one. It was here that his Biogenesis scandal involvements got him into trouble, and here also that Cruz turned down the lucrative $14.1-million qualifying offer. Ultimately he would settle sign for much less with the Orioles.
His bruised left hand may have something to say about whether he will be in the lineup. Apparently the decision will be made after batting practice, but in the big picture of things it appears that Cruz is going to be fine.
A former Ranger who is really struggling is Chris Davis, who is 2-for-28 with 15 strikeouts over his last seven games. Hopefully being home in Dallas will get him literally back in the swing.
The Rangers are returning home with a current record of 29-28, having completed their longest road trip of the season with a 7-4 record. Even so, this is not a healthy team, especially with the starting pitching. And the Orioles will be pleased to not have to see Yu Davish in the series, as he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Nationals on Sunday.
The Baltimore Orioles will be facing an old friend when they bat tonight against Joe Saunders. At the end of the 2012 season, he was 3-3 for the Birds with a 3.63 ERA. The start will only be the third of the season for Saunders. He was injured at the beginning of the season in his first start and returned just last Wednesday with five scoreless innings against the Twins.
Saunders has a notoriously poor record at Texas, where he is 1-7 in regular season games with an 8.58 ERA. However, Orioles fans will always fondly remember Saunders for beating the Rangers in Texas in the Wild Card Playoff Game in 2012 with one run in 5.2 innings.
Against Sauders, Nelson Cruz is 11-for-33 with a double and two homers, Nick Markakis is 7-for-28 with a double and two homers, and Delmon Young is 3-for-10 with a double. But Adam Jones is 4-for-19 with a double and Chris Davis 3-for-18 with a single home run.
Ubaldo Jimenez will continue his quest to find consistent dominance as at the end of last year. Just 2-6 on the year with a 4.65 ERA, he has a career record against Texas of 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in six starts.
Prince Fielder is 11-for-39 (.282) against Jimenez with four doubles, but zero home runs. Shin-Soo Choo has just one hit in three at-bats, but it was a homer. Adrian Beltre is 6-for-17 with two doubles and a home run.