This just in. The Baltimore Orioles are temporarily switching mascots from the Oriole to the Phoenix as they try to rise from the ashes that remain from the first two ALDS games. After winning 101 games in the regular season, the O's have hit a bump in the road in their first two playoff games.
That bump is the Texas Rangers, who are now 4-0 in this post season, scoring an incredible 25 runs in those games, against the two best teams in the American League. The series now heads to Arlington for games three and, if necessary, four.
Orioles play game three against Rangers needing to win to stay alive
Baltimore needs to win both games at Globe Life Field in order to return home for a decisive game five. The Birds have already won two games in Texas this season when they played the Rangers back in early April. Things are a bit different this time around as the O's are just one loss away from elimination, but doesn't this feel like this season's Oriole way?
The O's seemingly never had an easy win and tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the MLB lead with 48 comeback wins on the season. Obviously coming back from two games down is different than coming back from two runs down, but if anyone can do it, it's these Orioles. In 88 best-of-five series' that have been played in MLB history, only 10 teams have come back to win the series after going down in a 0-2 hole. That is an 11% success rate staring the Orioles in the face.
The odds are certainly against the O's but that's still 11% better than the Boston Red Sox faced when they lost the first three games of the 2004 ALCS to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox not only came back to win the last four games of the series, they also won the four games after that, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and ending the 'Curse of the Bambino'.
The good news for the Orioles is that the bats woke up in game two. After mustering two runs on just five hits in game one, the Birds bats exploded eight runs on 14 hits in the second game. The only problem was the pitching implosion was even greater than the hitting explosion.
Grayson Rodriguez escaped a bases loaded jam in the first inning but was not able to pitch his way out of the second. Jacob Webb, who was great for the Orioles after being signed off waivers earlier this season, has allowed a home run in each game that proved to be the difference in both.
The Rangers will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound in game three looking to keep their post season record perfect. Eovaldi is the first right handed pitcher the Birds will see meaning they can use their formidable lefty lineup. Gunnar Henderson should move towards the top of the lineup and breakout star Ryan O'Hearn should make his post season debut.
This will be the first time the Orioles see Eovaldi this season, though many of the Oriole hitters have faced him before. Eovaldi has put together a very good first season in Texas, including a dominant performance against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round.
Brandon Hyde has announced that Dean Kremer will get the start in game three. Kremer has 13 wins and 157 strikeouts to go with a 4.12 ERA on the season. In five September starts, Kremer had one win with a 3.57 ERA. Kremer is also in his second full season as a major leaguer and has already thrown almost 50 more innings than his previous career best.
While Kremer ended up getting the start over veteran Kyle Gibson, Gibson should still be ready to pitch extended innings should Kremer struggle early. Hyde won't be able to let Kremer work his way out of trouble, like he has so many times this season, in this elimination game.
Regardless of who gets the start on the mound or in the field, the Orioles are facing an uphill battle, but not an impossible one. Other teams have come back from the same and even greater deficits before, and remember; There's no quit in this team.
Game time: 8:03 p.m. EDT
Location: Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX
Watch on TV: FOX
Listen on radio: 98 Rock FM/HD2 97.9, WBAL NewsRadio AM/FM