ARLINGTON, Texas - The Orioles must win tonight at Globe Life Field against the Texas Rangers or pack up the bats and balls for the 2023 season. It's Game 3 of the best-of-five American League Division Series with Texas holding a two-games-to-none lead.
The Orioles (101-61) fell behind 9-2 in the third inning Sunday in Baltimore. They rallied, but lost 11-8 after dropping a 3-2 game in the series opener.
This is just the second time in O's postseason history that they have lost the first two games of a series. The other time was in the 2014 AL Championship Series, and they were swept in four in a row by Kansas City.
The Orioles have an all-time postseason record of 52-42 and are 12-10 all-time in playoff series. But they have lost seven straight postseason games coming into Game 3. They are 11-7 all-time in ALDS games.
Texas (90-72) began this postseason with a six-game playoff losing streak, but now is 4-0 this postseason, by a combined 25-11 score against the Rays and Orioles.
Texas is just 9-16 all-time in home playoff games, losing five straight in Arlington. The Rangers are just 1-11 all-time in home games in the ALDS.
But there is other math on the Rangers' side as the teams take the field tonight. Teams that have gone 2-0 on the road all-time in series of at least five games are 53-7 (.883) in those series. And teams that have gone up 2-0 on the road in only best-of-five series have gone 29-3 (.906) in those series. But the last time a team did that and lost the series it was the Texas Rangers against Toronto in the 2015 ALDS.
Right-hander Dean Kremer (13-5, 4.12 ERA) will get the Game 3 start for Baltimore, making his first career postseason start. The Orioles had an impressive 24-8 record in his starts this season, going 6-1 his last seven outings and 8-2 in the past 10.
In those 10 games, Kremer has gone 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA and .612 OPS against. His ERA is 2.63 over his last three starts.
Kremer made one start this season versus Texas, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings on May 27. In three career games against the Rangers, he is 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA.
To get past Texas tonight, the Orioles must have some success against right-hander Nate Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63 ERA), a pitcher with a strong track record against the Orioles and a good record in the postseason as well.
Eovaldi came off the injured list in early September, after missing about six weeks with a right forearm strain. And his ERA was 9.30 in six starts after returning. But then he pitched great game versus Tampa Bay in Game 2 of that series, throwing 6 2/3 and allowing one run on 98 pitches. And in 12 career postseason games, he is 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.
In 18 career games against the Orioles - all with Boston - Eovaldi is 8-2 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.280 WHIP. He did not face the Orioles this season. But in three starts in 2022 for the Red Sox, he went 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA.
So yep, the O's face a real challenge tonight.
And while the Orioles went 52-29 on the road this year, Texas was 50-31 at home.
An Orioles win tonight would force a fourth game of the ALDS that would take place at 7:07 p.m. EST on Wednesday night. Another Baltimore victory then would force a fifth and deciding game in this series on Friday at Oriole Park.