Kyle Gibson keeps the roll going on the mound and O's can sweep today

ARLINGTON, Tex. – Sometimes in baseball it is said that momentum can be hard for a team to build because it is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. Meaning someone can shut you down and beat you. In the case of the Orioles the next day’s starter built on what happened the previous day in a twist on the phrase.

When asked about his strong seven-inning start last night as the Orioles beat Texas 7-2, right-hander Kyle Gibson first spent quite some time talking about the job Tyler Wells did the night before when Kyle Bradish got hurt. The Orioles were still marveling yesterday at Wells’ performance to bolster the pitching staff Monday night in the series-opening 2-0 win.

“I don’t think we can say enough about what Tyler Wells did for this team (Monday) night,” said Gibson. “That set us up for me not needing to go seven innings tonight. I was thankful I was able to do it, but what a job by him. When I found out he was going in, they asked me if I could throw (yesterday) and that’s a no brainer. If Wellsy can step up and do that I can take my turn the next day. Anytime a starter can get to the seventh, I think it’s big for the bullpen. I told Hyder I could go another one and try to save one more inning, but he said they were fresh enough down there and handed the ball off.”

The Orioles realized what Wells did Monday was pretty special in how he stepped up and Gibson said good teams need such things.

“It’s necessary, right,” he said. “There is something on the line behind the scenes like every time a guy is on the mound. That put him in a tough spot - he is not staying on routine, mentally he is not locked in when Hyder asked him that. But it shows a lot about his routine and how he stays prepared. He had done a really good job of staying prepared and ready. I think that is what this team is all about – we’ve got a lot of young guys that have really good heads on their shoulders and understand that if they start the game on the bench, they are one play away from being out there. Hats off to him. That gave us a lot of momentum going into today.”

Then the O’s gave Gibson an early 7-1 lead in the third inning as Ryan Mountcastle hit a three-run homer off the right-field foul pole and Jorge Mateo hit a two-run shot. Mateo has homered in each game of this series and has four career homers in seven games at Globe Life Field.

Gibson meanwhile was rolling on the mound, needing just 31 pitches through three, 62 through five and 88 over his seven innings in recording the club’s first 2023 quality start. O’s pitchers have allowed two runs and eight hits this series.

Gibson’s fastball velocity was up as he averaged 93.1 mph per Statcast last night after averaging 91.2 mph on Opening Day. He averaged 91.8 last season for Philadelphia. He topped out at 95.1 mph versus the Rangers.

“I worked on a little bit of delivery stuff in my bullpen (Sunday). I probably threw 25 pitches and all of it was from the windup, working on delivery stuff. Without getting too much into it, it’s always good to see things that you work on in the bullpen translate to the mound and tonight was like that. I don’t know if I’ll be 94 or 95 (mph) every time at the top, but it’s nice to know at 35 you still have that in the tank every now and then.

“When I can see that and know that, it obviously changes my game plan a little bit. Probably not throwing some of those heaters at a time when it’s 91 or 92, but if I can reach back and have a little extra hop, it allows me to use that a little more.”

Mountcastle hit the ball hard four times last night after striking out four times Monday. He produced exit velocities of 102, 97, 94 and 101 on the night with a homer and double. But he had to tip his cap to the Baltimore pitching in this series.

“That was awesome what Wellsy did yesterday,” said Mountcastle. “Basically get off the bench, probably didn’t have a jersey on to put up five shutout. And then Gibby to do what he did today, it was a lot of fun to play behind.

“Our pitching staff has got a little momentum the last couple of days and we put some better swings on it today and hopefully we keep this going moving forward.”

Mateo is 4-for-7 this series with two homers and three RBIs. He is batting .357 on the year with an OPS of 1.224. He has homered in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He has an RBI in a career-high four straight games.

“Yeah, to tell you the truth I really like playing in this stadium,” he said with the help of team interpreter Brandon Quinones. And he also tipped his cap his pitching staff and especially Gibson.

“He’s a really intelligment pitcher. He studies hitters really well and he knows why they don’t do well and he attacks them with that knowledge. He makes smart pitches and very few errors on the mound,” said Mateo.

The Orioles have won eight in a row over Texas and can sweep them today. Their last eight-game win streak over one opponent was from July 3 to Sept. 19, 2012 over Seattle.

Grayson likely today: The Orioles, as of postgame last night, had not announced their starting pitcher yet for today. But rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez is expected to make his MLB debut this after at Globe Life Field and face two-time Cy Young Aware winner Jacob deGrom.



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