Will it be a night for homers in Texas? (plus Veloz & Hoes notes)

The starting pitching matchup in Texas tonight features Tommy Hunter (4-7, 5.49 ERA) for the Orioles and lefty Derek Holland (7-6, 4.98 ERA) for Texas.

Hunter has given up 29 homers and that ties Ervin Santana of Los Angeles for the American League lead. Holland is tied for seventh, allowing 23 homers.

The two have given up a combined 52 homers over 239 innings in 2012.

Both are giving up the long ball at a higher rate this year than last season. In 2011 Hunter allowed 1.3 homers per every nine innings and now that figure is 2.2. Holland has gone from 1.0 to 1.7 homers per nine innings.

Over his last four starts, Hunter has allowed seven homers over 22 innings. Over his past four starts, Holland has been hit for seven homers over 26 innings.

Hunter has given up his most homers in the fourth and sixth innings, where he has allowed seven. Holland’s worst inning for the long ball is the sixth where he has given up nine home runs.

One difference between the two pitchers though, is in batting average against where Holland yields an average of .241 to opposing hitters and Hunter is at .299.

It looks like the hitters will be anxious to get to the plate tonight. We’ll see if that holds up or not. Hunter has pitched some solid games lately for the Orioles and his ERA is 4.14 since the All-Star break.

The Orioles have moved one of their top young prospects from the Dominican Republic, 18-year-old third baseman Hector Veloz from the Gulf Coast League to short-season, Single-A Aberdeen.

Veloz was signed as a 16-year-old amateur in July of 2010 to a $300,000 signing bonus, believed to be the largest the O’s have ever given to a Dominican amateur.

In 34 GCL games, Veloz hit .281 with three homers, 18 RBIs and an OPS of .801. He was hot at the bat this month, batting .328 in 17 August games with seven doubles, a triple, two homers, 12 RBIs and an OPS of .962.

Also, Norfolk’s L.J. Hoes is going to be away from the Tides for a day or two to attend to a family matter. He should return to the Tides soon. Hoes is batting .318 in 73 Triple-A games and has now reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games. Over that span, Hoes has 12 multi-hit games and has posted a .467 on-base percentage, as he’s reached base safely in 50 of his last 107 trips to the plate.

Yes it will, for the Rangers so far: The first eight batters of the Texas fourth inning reached tonight as the Rangers scored seven runs to turn a 1-1 tie into an 8-1 lead that later grew to 10-1. The inning featured two homers off Hunter including a grand slam by Mitch Moreland. Adrian Beltre homered off Hunter and Kevin Gregg in the inning.

Hunter was obviously knocked out in that inning and in just three-plus innings gave up eight hits and eight runs. He has now given up 10 homers over his last 25 innings and 32 on the year in 121 innings.

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