Can Arrieta slow down the Rangers tonight?

Here is a daunting stat: Texas has won six games in a row against the Orioles and has outscored the Birds 60-15 in those games. Yes, that is an average of 10 runs per game.

In three of those games, Texas scored 13 runs on the Orioles and last night they did that one better.

Last year, in going 5-1 against Baltimore, the Rangers had a team batting average of .343 and OPS of .940 with 18 doubles and eight homers. Yeah, that is pretty good.

The 2012 Rangers lead the American League in runs, batting average, hits, total bases and OBP and OPS. They are third in homers.

Texas has Major League Baseball's best record since last year's All-Star break at 64-35 for a .657 win percentage in that time. Remember that four-game sweep the Orioles got over Texas right before the 2010 All-Star break? They won't be doing that this week.

The Orioles outscored the Yankees and Red Sox on the road 35-13 during a five-game win streak which culminated with Sunday's 17-inning win. Then they gave up one more run than that in one game in last night's 14-3 loss to Texas.

New York and Boston provided a good challenge to the improved Orioles. The Rangers provide a better one right now. Don't be fooled by the fact the Rangers lost their previous three series before getting to Baltimore. That is a blip on the radar for them during their pursuit of a third straight AL championship.

You want to see how the Orioles stack up? Watch these next three games.

Maybe tonight is the O's best chance to win against this team and all its offense as Jake Arrieta takes the mound. Arrieta is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.52 on the year, but is coming off a tremendous outing at New York, one where he pitched eight shutout innings of five-hit ball with no walks and nine strikeouts.

If he can duplicate that performance, you have to like his chances, even against an offense as good as this one. We'll see if that adage that good pitching beats good hitting can hold up tonight at Camden Yards.

Before last night, the O's pitching staff had given up a total of 28 runs during an 11-2 run. Then Texas scored seven runs in one inning. That is more runs than the Orioles had given up in all but two games this year.

There is no doubt, the Rangers look like an elite team capable of beating anyone and winning a World Series. But how many times will they beat the Orioles over the next three nights?

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