The Orioles are now down 0-2 in this best-of-five American League Division Series. They had 101 wins in the regular season and won the AL East championship, but after today’s 11-8 loss to Texas, their season will be over with one more loss.
With the Orioles down 11-5 in the ninth, Aaron Hicks blasted a three-run homer off Texas closer Jose Leclerc. He drove in five runs today. But the pitching gave up 11.
The Orioles have now lost seven straight postseason games since their last win in the 2014 ALDS versus Detroit. The Rangers are 4-0 in the 2023 playoffs.
The Orioles face a must-win situation Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
A few thoughts on Game 2:
Tough one for Rodriguez: After how well he pitched since returning to the roster from the farm in July – with an ERA of 1.80 his last six starts and 2.26 his past 12 – it was surprising to see rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez struggle so badly.
The pregame concern was whether the O’s could get much offense against lefty Jordan Montgomery. They did. But they also trailed 9-2 by the third inning. And that was not all on Rodriguez.
The game started with a single and walk off Rodriguez, but he fanned the next two hitters. He then dueled fellow rookie Evan Carter, but walked him after not getting a called third strike on a pitch that was in the box. But he got Jonah Heim to pop out and he had put up a first-inning zero, but in a difficult 27-pitch inning.
Did that frame take too much out of him early on today?
That second inning started with a walk, a single and a two-run double, and the O’s 2-0 lead in the first was already gone. By the end of the second it was 5-2 Texas. By the end of the third it was 9-2. The Rangers batted around in the second inning, and it was the seventh time they did that in Texas postseason history. And the first time since Game 3 of the 2011 World Series against St. Louis.
Rodriguez gave up six hits and five runs with four walks in 1 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year. According to MLB.com, it was the third-shortest start in O’s postseason history. The only two that were shorter were both 1 1/3-inning outings, by Jim Palmer in Game 4 of the 1973 ALDS and Dennis Martinez in Game 4 of the 1979 World Series.
Baker could not find the zone: Bryan Baker was a bit of a surprise addition to the O’s ALDS roster, and the bullpen righty had a rough day today. He entered with Texas leading 5-2 in the third, got one out and then walked three in a row. He threw 14 balls among 19 pitches. Manager Brandon Hyde pulled him for Jacob Webb who then gave up a grand slam to Mitch Garver. That changed the game, and not in a good way for the Orioles, as the score went from 5-2 to 9-2. Webb allowed homers to two of the first four batters he faced in the two games this weekend.
In the first three innings, the Rangers had seven hits and seven walks. And nine runs.
According to STATS, this was the second grand slam allowed by the Orioles in the playoffs all-time. Albert Belle hit the other, off righty Armando Benitez at Cleveland in Game 3 of the 1996 ALDS.
Henderson's blast: Gunnar Henderson electrified the sellout crowd of 46,475 with a solo homer to right leading off the last of the fifth. He had two hits and a walk and scored twice today. His home run pulled the O’s within 10-5.
Henderson drilled a Montgomery changeup 401 feet off an exit velocity of 109 mph.
Henderson is the third O’s rookie to hit a postseason homer. The first two came on the same day, when Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty homered on Oct. 10, 2012 at the New York Yankees in the ALDS. And at 22 years and 101 days, Henderson is the second-youngest Oriole with a postseason blast, older only than Machado, who was 20 years, 96 days of age when he connected back in 2012.
The Camden Yards fans were tremendous again. The crowds brought it big-time this weekend, keeping up the noise, the cheering and energy today, even with the O's down big. It was an awesome performance by the fans.
But after coming up short on offense yesterday, the Birds, who issued a season-high 11 walks today, came up short on the mound in Game 2.
Their season is riding in Game 3 on Tuesday night.