It's tough to find any comfort, or silver lining, in the Orioles heading to Arlington down 0-2 after losing Games 1 and 2 of the American League Division Series at home against the Texas Rangers. There was so much excitement, for the first Orioles home playoff games since Games 1 and 2 of the 2014 ALCS against Kansas City. Poof, in a matter of 28 hours, the orange balloon was punctured, the air almost entirely let out.
The Orioles now head to Arlington facing a tall task. The last team to lose the first two games of the ALDS at home and rally to win the series was the 2015 Blue Jays, who did it against the...Texas Rangers. The 2012 and eventually World Series Champion Giants lost the first two games of the ALDS in San Francisco, before rallying to win the next 3 in Cincinnati (the playoff format was different in 2012). So not only is a rally of this magnitude possible; for the road-warrior Baltimore Orioles, a road trip might be just what they need.
The Orioles are still in this series as the ALDS shifts to Texas
Most teams in sports, from high school to the pros, generally play better at home. Perhaps it as simple as sleeping in your own bed the night before a game, having the fans cheering you on, playing on a field you are familiar with, or engaging in a certain routine. But for the 2023 Baltimore Orioles, there was something special about playing away from Camden Yards.
While the Orioles were a superb 49-32 at home, they were an even-better 52-29 away from Baltimore, the only team besides the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers with a better away record than home record in the American League.
There's no rhyme or reason for it. Indeed, the Rangers, who looked like a team of Goliaths in Games 1 and 2, were 40-41 on the road this season, and 50-31 at home. The Orioles' offense was better away from Camden Yards, and not just in the power department (which could be expected since Baltimore is not a homer-friendly park), but in all categories. While the pitching was slightly better at home, both the Orioles and their opponents face the same conditions, whether at Camden Yards or another park. The Orioles were just a better away team.
Five of the Orioles' series sweeps this season took place on the road: at Washington, at Toronto, at Minnesota, at Anaheim, and at Oakland. True to form and as relevant here, the Orioles won 2 out of 3 games in Texas this season. They swept the Rangers in three games last summer at Globe Life Park. And the Orioles won series at Houston and Arizona this season, two teams still alive (and with wins) in the Division Series.
For some teams, "home cooking" is their savior; returning home after a rough start to a series is what many teams need to get back into a series. For the Orioles, it might be the opposite. After two tough losses at home against the Rangers, the Orioles hit the road for Game 3 Tuesday night and, hopefully, a Game 4 on Wednesday.
If the Orioles can win these two road games - something they have done well all season - they would return home for Game 5 Friday night at Camden Yards, with a chance at redemption and a chance at a spot in the ALCS.
For the Orioles, they need to go on the road and do what they have done all year: win. With the road-warrior Orioles heading to Texas for Game 3, this series is far from over. For the Orioles, the hope is that it is just beginning.