A few notes and quick takes on the O's loss in Game 1

The Orioles seemed confident their late-season hitting slump would not carry into the postseason. But for one day at least, it did as the Orioles lost 3-2 to the Rangers this afternoon in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. They need a win on Sunday to even this series before it heads to Arlington.

It was a day where their starter went fewer than five innings and the Rangers pitcher that started went fewer than four. But after getting Anthony Santander’s 420-foot homer in the sixth, that pulled them within 3-2, the O’s could not score further and they dropped Game 1.

They scored two runs or fewer in three of their last four regular season games and in seven of the last 11 leading into these playoffs.

The O's held down the highest-scoring team in the league and their pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts. They held Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to one combined infield hit, but they could only get two of their own runs.

Today they hit into two double plays and chased some pitches as Texas used six pitchers to get the victory. 

In the regular season, the Orioles went 30-16 in one-run games and Texas was 14-22. That was 28th in the majors. The tables got turned today in the ALDS opener.

A few thoughts on Game 1:

The plan to start Heaney worked: There were good reasons to wonder about the Rangers' decision, made at almost 8 p.m. Friday, to start lefty Andrew Heaney. After all, his season ERA was 7.45 versus the Orioles and his career ERA was 7.63 with a 1.070 OPS against. Lefty batters had an OPS of .806 against him this year. The O’s faced him twice this season and once scored seven runs off him.

But Texas skipper Bruce Bochy has three rings and I don’t. He knew best. Again.

Heaney, because he pitched often in relief in September, was never going to go deep in this game but he got it off to a good pitching start for Texas. He gave up just one single through three innings. He allowed just one run in 3 2/3 on 56 pitches before giving way to Dane Dunning. He left leading 2-1.

A mixed day that ended earlier than expected for Bradish: Kyle Bradish gave up an infield hit in the top of the fifth and then fanned Robbie Grossman and Adolis García back-to-back. But Brandon Hyde went to the bullpen at that point with Bradish at 84 pitches.

The hot-hitting rookie Evan Carter was coming up and Hyde wanted to go left-on-left, so he brought in Danny Coulombe. It meant he got the matchup he wanted at the expense of an earlier-than-hoped-for exit for Bradish, a pitcher who went 10-5 with a 2.18 ERA his last 19 starts. The pitcher that finished third in the AL in ERA.

Carter earned such treatment with a walk and an RBI double his first two times up. At that point, he was 4-for-5 this postseason with three extra-base hits and four walks. He had reached base in nine of 10 plate appearances against the Rays and O's. And Coulombe walked him again. He didn’t get his guy, but he got Jonah Heim, who followed to groundout. So Bradish was out after getting just 14 outs, but the O’s margin held at 2-1 to that point.

Big challenge on Sunday: Down 0-1 in this series the Orioles will face Texas lefty Jordan Montgomery on Sunday, trying to avoid going down 0-2 in a best-of-five series.

Montgomery is a pitcher on a roll. This year between two teams – the Cardinals and the Rangers – he went 10-11 with 3.20 ERA in 32 starts.

Acquired by Texas in a July 30 trade, he has gone 4-2 with 2.79 ERA in 11 starts for the Rangers. In his last four regular season starts, he posted an 0.67 ERA. Then in Game 1 of the playoffs Tuesday at Tampa Bay, he pitched seven scoreless innings on 93 pitches. He is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 16 career starts against the Birds.

The crowd was awesome: A sellout of 46,450 attended and had to wait through a pregame rain delay of an hour and 13 minutes. But they roared just about from the first pitch to the last. They were incredible.

Orioles leftovers from Game 1 of ALDS
Orioles lose Game 1 of Division Series 3-2 (update...

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