During an outstanding season when they have played .635 baseball and have the third-best record in the major leagues, the Orioles (33-19) have lost only four series. They have not been swept in any of them.
For the latter statement to remain true, they’ll have to beat the Texas Rangers (33-18) today. Texas has won the first two games of this series to move ahead of Baltimore for the second-best record in the major leagues and to have a chance for a sweep today.
The Orioles have not only not been swept in any series, they have not lost the first two games of any series until Texas beat them this weekend by 12-2 Friday and 5-3 yesterday.
The American League West leaders, Texas had lost eight of its last nine games versus the Orioles, going 0-6 in the season series last year, until its win on Friday night at Oriole Park. Per Elias Sports Bureau, this series is just the second time ever that the Orioles and Rangers have met with both teams at least 13 games over the .500 mark. The other time it happened was in August 2016.
With a series win this weekend, Texas is 7-1-1 in its last nine series and 11-2-1 in its last 14 series. Their series record for the season thus far is 12-4-1.
Texas has won four games in a row, seven of the last eight, 10 of 13 and 15 of its last 20 games. The Rangers have an AL-best mark of 19-7 (.731) since April 28.
The Rangers have scored 17 runs in these two wins. When the Orioles took two of three at Texas in early April, they held Texas batters to just seven runs on 17 hits with only three walks to 24 strikeouts that entire series.
The Orioles are 12-9 since the start of their series in early May at Atlanta. That began a stretch of 22 straight games versus winning-record clubs that ends today.
The Orioles have won five of eight, seven of 11, 11 of 17, 16 of 26 and 24 of their past 36 games, even with a couple of losses this series.
Right-hander Kyle Bradish (2-1, 4.34 ERA) gets the start today, his ninth. He missed time earlier this year when he was injured in the second inning of his April 3 start at Texas. He got hit by a Jonah Heim line drive after pitching 1 2/3 innings and did not pitch again in a major league game until April 19 at Washington.
Lefty batters are hitting .292 with a .750 OPS against him, and right-handers are batting .250/.744. In three road starts he is 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA. Bradish averages 17.1 pitches per inning.
In his last five games since April 30, he is 1-0 with a 3.62 ERA over 27 1/3 innings. In that span he has walked seven and fanned 23, allowing a .699 OPS.
Texas today turns to one of its top young pitching prospects in going for this sweep with left-hander Cody Bradford (0-1, 10.80 ERA), 25, set to make his second big league start.
Bradford debuted May 15 versus Atlanta, giving up seven hits and six runs over five innings as he threw 90 pitches.
This year at Triple-A Round Rock he is 6-1 with an ERA of 0.99 with 14 walks and 42 strikeouts over 45 1/3 innings. Bradford was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Month for April, going 5-0 with an ERA of 0.64, allowing just two earned runs in five starts.
He is ranked as the No. 22 Rangers prospect by Baseball America and No. 26 via MLBPipeline.com. The Rangers selected Bradford in round six of the 2019 draft out of Baylor University.
He is not a hard thrower. His fastball velocity was 89.4 mph in that earlier start versus Atlanta, when he threw mostly fastballs and changeups.
During the 2018 season he pitched for the USA Baseball collegiate national team, and one of his teammates was O's catcher Adley Rutschman.