O's game blog: Grayson Rodriguez makes his MLB debut in the series finale at Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas – O’s rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the sport by Baseball America and No. 7 via MLBPipeline.com, today makes his long-anticipated major league debut. Rodriguez will face two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom as the Orioles and Texas Rangers conclude a three-game series at Globe Life Field.

After wins of 2-0 and 7-2, the O’s can sweep this series today and beat Texas for the ninth straight time, going back to last year. Baltimore pitching has thrown 18 innings this series, allowing just eight hits and two runs with two walks and 15 strikeouts.

The Orioles (3-2) begin play today tied with the New York Yankees for second in the American League East, two games behind unbeaten and division-leading Tampa Bay at 5-0. Boston and Toronto are 2-3.

Rodriguez had some struggles in spring training and posted a 7.04 ERA over 15 1/3 innings. It looked like he would break north with the team in the Opening Day rotation to start the year, but instead he was optioned to the minors and made one start for Triple-A Norfolk. But due to the injury to Kyle Bradish, who was placed on the injured list today, here he is already, ready to debut, and in his home state of Texas.

He made his Triple-A season debut in Norfolk’s season opener at Durham last Friday night, allowing three runs (two earned) over four innings. He was scheduled to pitch tomorrow for the Tides at home, but now that plan has changed. Rodriguez will be pitching on normal rest today.

Rodriguez is 25-9 with a 2.49 ERA in his O’s minor league career.

Texas signed deGrom in December to a five-year deal worth $185 million. He made his fourth career Opening Day start last Thursday and took a no-decision in the Texas win over Philadelphia. deGrom allowed six hits and five runs over 3 2/3 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts against the Phillies. He threw 73 pitches.

In that start, lefty batters went just 1-for-9 versus deGrom, but right-handed hitters went 5-for-8 with three doubles, a triple and a homer.

From 2018 through 2021, deGrom in 91 career starts posted a 32-21 record and 1.94 ERA along with 0.881 WHIP. He recorded a 1.8 walk rate and 12.0 strikeout rate. He won Cy Young Awards for the Mets in 2018 and 2019 and finished third in the voting in 2020 and ninth in 2021.

He owns the third-lowest ERA in the Expansion Era (since 1961) among pitchers with at least 200 starts. Sandy Koufax is first at 2.19, followed by Clayton Kershaw at 2.48 and deGrom at 2.52. deGrom was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2014, and is one of just three pitchers in baseball history to win multiple Cy Young Awards and a Rookie of the Year Award (the others are Justin Verlander and Tom Seaver). He has received Cy Young Award votes in six of the last eight seasons, including five straight years prior to an injury-shortened 2022 campaign. He is a four-time All-Star (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021) and has twice been selected All-MLB First Team (2019, 2020).

He spent his entire career with the Mets organization prior to signing with Texas. The Mets was selected him in the 9th round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

The Orioles have hit two, three, two, two and two homers in their first five games. That is the most the Orioles have ever hit in the first five games of any season. Eight different players have homered, with Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo leading the way with two each. Mateo has hit a homer in each game of this series and has career homers in seven games all-time at Globe Life Field.

The O's bullpen, which allowed nine earned runs over 13 2/3 innings in Boston, has thrown 9 1/3 scoreless in this series, allowing just one hit with one walk to 13 strikeouts.

Mountcastle's three-run homer last night, at 348 feet, was the shortest of his career, per Statcast.

O's starters pitched just 13 2/3 innings the first four games before Kyle Gibson went seven last night. 

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