The big question is: Can the Orioles slow down the Texas Rangers offense today when the teams play a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m.?
It has been a while since the Orioles have done that. They have lost seven in a row against the Rangers and have been outscored 70-18 in those games, giving up 13 runs or more four times.
In that stretch, Texas has 101 hits, including 23 doubles and 16 homers, along with a team batting average of .378 against O’s pitching.
In the two games of this series, the Rangers have scored 24 runs with 34 hits, including six doubles and eight homers. The Rangers are 9-for-20 (.450) with runners in scoring position in this series and are batting .395 as a team in the first two games of the series at Camden Yards.
I asked catcher Matt Wieters how the Orioles pitchers have to approach the hot-hitting Rangers hitters today.
“Pitchers are going to win more times than hitters. The key is you just have to make pitches. You can’t look at how hot a guy is or a team is. If you can make the pitches for nine innings, you’ll give your team a chance to win,” he said.
“You want to see the pitchers step up and take on the challenge. Say ‘if he hits my pitch, so what.’ That is something you can live with.”
Should the Orioles just pitch around Josh Hamilton?
“You have to try to get ahead of him (in the count) and go from there. I will be really surprised if he could hit four homers again tonight,” Wieters said.
“Sometimes guys feel like they have to make the perfect pitch and that is when it gets hard because you have a certain margin for error. Some of the great hitters get a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate because guys are trying to be so fine to them rather than just trying to make their pitch.”
Wieters also marveled at the fact that two of Hamilton’s homers Tuesday night were pitches he said Hamilton hit off the end of his bat.
“Maybe we need to miss the barrel by even more than that,” he said.
In his last eight games at Camden Yards, Hamilton is 18-for-36 with seven homers and 19 RBIs.
Since hitting a two-run homer in the ninth Monday night, Hamilton is 6-for-6 in this series with five homers and 10 RBIs. He has 12 homers over his last 19 games and is batting .406 on the year with 14 homers and 36 RBIs.
Seems a lot of teams have not been missing the barrel of his bat this year.