O's Ryan O'Hearn: "I'm not ready to be done playing with these guys for the year"

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Orioles arrived in Texas last night, determined to keep their season alive when they take the field in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday night.

They have lost by scores of 3-2 and 11-8 to the Texas Rangers, a 90-win team during the regular season. A club that lost four of its last six to let the AL West title get away, only to now go 4-0 through the postseason thus far.

The math is daunting for the Orioles.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, in MLB playoff history, in best-of-five or longer series, teams taking a 2-0 lead are 154-25 (.860) in those series. In strictly best-of-five series, teams up 2-0 are 78-10 (.886).

“Obviously, definitely not our two best games we have played. We are capable of much better,” said Ryan O’Hearn this afternoon in the Baltimore clubhouse. “You know, it happens, So, it’s time to turn the page and try to figure out how to win the next one and the next one and hopefully we continue to play.

"I’m not ready to be done playing with these guys for the year. All these guys feel the same way. We want to keep going. Our backs are against the wall but we’re still breathing, we’ve still got a chance. We’ve won three in a row before many times this season, so that is where the focus is.”

O’Hearn is one of several Orioles trying to bat their way out of hitting slumps. He is 0-for-25 since his last hit, Sept. 22 at Cleveland. With lefties starting the first two games of the ALDS, he has only been used once each game as a pinch-hitter. Against closer Jose Leclerc yesterday in Baltimore, he followed Aaron Hicks to the plate in the ninth inning after Hicks’ three-run homer.

O’Hearn is encouraged by that at-bat. He drove a 3-1 fastball deep to left field. It was hit 104 mph off the bat and went 384 feet, a homer in other ballparks.

“Yeah, it felt good,” said O’Hearn. “Obviously the circumstances haven’t been great for me getting a chance to play and impact the game. But came in against Leclerc and my swing feels good. Saw the ball well that at-bat and hopefully I will be able to impact the series more moving forward.”

And even as the hits did not come late in the year, and his average dropped from .310 to end up at .289, he felt good about many of his swings.

“Absolutely. It’s just the game. I felt I was hitting the ball better during that 0-for streak than I was when I went 5-for-5 in Houston. That is just the way the game goes. Hitting balls hard right at guys and balls not falling in. So I’m not worried at all.”

Various O’s hitters have said several times since Sunday’s game ended that they feel they are taking some momentum into Game 3 after scoring eight runs on 14 hits. They scored six runs in the last six innings of the game Sunday after scoring two runs or less eight times in the previous 12 games.

“Felt good to score some runs and get hits and hit the ball hard. Sometimes, even though we lost, an offensive spark like that can translate into the next game. And that is what we are hoping for on Tuesday,” said O’Hearn.

During the regular season, the Orioles won three in a row or more 16 times. They have to do that now.

“Do we believe that we can do it? My answer is yeah, absolutely. But we have to take it one game at a time. That’s kind of been the mantra all year. You lose a few games, it’s like all right, let’s restart. And how do you do that? By winning the next one. The focus is on Tuesday. There is no secret or magic formula to flip the script. But we’ve got good players in here and guys that want to win. We’ll show up on Tuesday and play our (butt) off.”

Hyde on Mullins: Orioles manager Brandon Hyde indicated today he is sticking with Cedric Mullins as his center fielder in Game 3. It seems crazy to even ask about Mullins not in the lineup in a big game. But on the other hand, he is 2-for-41 in his last 13 games counting an 0-for-8 in this series.

“He's done a lot for us for a while now, and his center-field defense is hard to ignore and what he does for us defensively. He's definitely caught in between offensively right now and has been for a few weeks. Nobody's working harder in the cage. It's like he needs one to fall, honestly, to kind of get him kick-started a little bit. You see him kind of hitting frustrated.

"And I know he wants to contribute so badly offensively and it just hasn't happened here as of late. Like I said, I think he could be really close. Don't want to give up on it. His defense, to me, he plays Gold Glove center field defense. That’s hard to take out of the lineup,” Hyde said during his workout day interview session.

Gunnar has his say: The Orioles' Gunnar Henderson, who went 2-for-4 with a homer and three runs scored Sunday, also met with the media today. Again expressing confidence in his team despite the 0-2 hole.

“Like I keep reiterating, just go out and play our game,” he said. “Been working for us all year. Go out there and try not to do anything more. Just go out there and play Baltimore baseball. I feel like if we continue to do that, it's going to work out for us.

“Flush it and come in the next day with the right attitude and just go out there and continue to compete and allow yourself to be in the right position to hopefully win a game.”

Henderson said he was very confident in Game 3 starter Dean Kremer (13-5, 4.12 ERA). Kremer gave up three runs in 6 1/3 in a late May start versus Texas. This season against the AL West, he went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts.

"It's been really cool to watch him. He competes his butt off each and every outing. No matter if he doesn't have his stuff, he's going to go out there and work his butt off. It's been really cool to watch him. It's hats off to him because he's put in a lot of work and deserves every bit of it," Henderson said. 


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