The Orioles have recognized for nearly every week that they might have home-field benefit within the American League Division Series. Now, they know who’s coming to go to.
Baltimore will face the Texas Rangers within the best-of-five ALDS, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Camden Yards. Game 2 and, if needed, the winner-take-all Game 5 can even be at Oriole Park, however first-pitch instances haven’t but been introduced.
After coming in need of the AL West title on a tiebreaker with the Houston Astros, the Rangers (90-72) swept the Tampa Bay Rays (99-63) within the best-of-three wild-card sequence, which completed Wednesday afternoon. The Rays led the Orioles (101-61) within the AL East into late July however by no means recaptured sole possession of first place as Baltimore received the division for the primary time since 2014, profitable its most video games since 1979.
The Orioles and Rangers cut up their six regular-season conferences, all of which got here earlier than the tip of May. Baltimore closed its first highway journey of the season with a sequence win at Globe Life Field, which can host Games 3 and 4, the latter if wanted. The Orioles fell within the first two video games once they met in Baltimore in late May however managed to seize the finale, with the group now having gone an AL-record 91 straight multigame sequence with out being swept.
The ALDS will mark the groups’ first postseason assembly for the reason that inaugural AL wild-card recreation in 2012, which Baltimore received, 5-1, in Arlington, Texas, for its first playoff victory since 1997.
Hitter to observe
If not for two-way Los Angeles Angels famous person Shohei Ohtani, Rangers shortstop Corey Seager may need the AL Most Valuable Player award coming his method, pacing an offense that led the AL in runs, house runs, walks, batting common, on-base share, slugging share and OPS.
In the second season of a 10-year, $325 million contract, the 29-year-old’s 1.013 OPS trailed solely Ohtani’s 1.066 amongst certified hitters, and regardless of enjoying in solely 119 video games, Seager led the AL with 42 doubles to go along with 33 house runs and 96 RBIs. Two rookie Orioles infielders have acknowledged modeling facets of their recreation after Seager, with Gunnar Henderson noting his aptitude as a taller shortstop and Jordan Westburg hoping to imitate his quiet method to success.
Marcus Semien (162 video games performed, 29 house runs, 100 RBIs) and Adolis García (39 house runs, 107 RBIs, .508 slugging share) additionally play key roles in a lineup suffering from above-average hitters.
Pitcher to observe
During the offseason and on the commerce deadline, the Rangers added a starter with a number of Cy Young Awards to their pitching employees. But neither Jacob deGrom (Tommy John elbow reconstruction) nor Max Scherzer (teres main pressure) is anticipated to be accessible within the ALDS. Instead, a much less noteworthy commerce acquisition is fronting their rotation.
After Texas added left-hander Jordan Montgomery from the St. Louis Cardinals, the 30-year-old posted a 2.79 ERA in 11 begins, then pitched seven scoreless innings to open the sequence with the Rays. A former member of the New York Yankees, Montgomery has confronted the Orioles greater than another group, with a 3.04 ERA in 16 profession begins; he allowed two or fewer earned runs in 12 of these outings.
Nathan Eovaldi, one other high-priced offseason addition, had a 2.69 ERA earlier than occurring the injured listing with a proper forearm pressure in July; he put up a 9.30 ERA in six September begins, although he allowed only one run on six hits whereas placing out eight in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in opposition to the Rays. Texas’ bullpen is a transparent weak point, with its 4.77 ERA the worst of the league’s 12 playoff groups.
Rangers catcher Jonah Heim was Baltimore’s fourth-round draft decide in 2013 earlier than being traded to the Rays for Steve Pearce in 2016; Heim beat out Baltimore star Adley Rutschman in a fan vote to be the AL’s beginning backstop on this yr’s All-Star Game. Dr. Keith Meister, the Rangers’ head group doctor, carried out Orioles left-hander John Means’ Tommy John surgical procedure and can do the identical process on Baltimore nearer Félix Bautista someday this month.
Veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson, one of many few Orioles with playoff expertise, made 31 begins for Texas throughout 2020 and 2021, incomes his solely profession All-Star choice within the latter season. Orioles infielder Ramón Urías started his skilled profession with two seasons for Texas’ Dominican Summer League group in 2011 and 2012.
ALDS, Game 1
Rangers at Orioles
Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: Fox or FS1
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM