Friday, May 24, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (31-18) at Baltimore Orioles (33-17)


WINS AND LOSSES: Texas enjoyed an off day yesterday after beating the Pirates on Wednesday, 3-2, and have a 2-1 record to open this 9-G, 10-day road trip to PIT (2-1), BAL (3 G) and DET (3 G)…TEX has won 2 straight and is 4-1 in their last 5 G…TEX has won 6 of 8, 8 of 11 and 10 of 14 and 13 of last 18 G…TEX is an A.L.-best 17-7 (.708) in last 24 G beg. 4/28, 2nd-highest win pct. in MLB in that span (LAD is 18-7, .720)…TEX is 17-11 in last 28 G, but still 24-13 in last 37 G and 27-14 in last 41 G beg. 4/9.

  • At 31-18 (.633), TEX owns the 3rd-best record in the A.L. and MLB (see chart below)…club’s 31 wins rank 3rd in A.L. and T3rd in MLB (37-TB, 33-BAL, 31-ATL/NYY/TEX).
  • The 31-18 start marks Rangers’ best 49-G start to a season since 2013 (32-17), and is T2nd-best start in club history.
  • Club would have a 32-18 record with a win tonight, which would be tied for the best 50-G start in team history (also ’13).
  • TEX is a season high 13 G above .500…it is the 1st time since the end of 2016 (95-67) that the team is over 13 G… from 2020-22, TEX spent a total of one day above .500 (10-9 on 8/15/20)…club did not reach 31 wins in 2022 until 6/17.

Win Pct. Team W-L
.712 Tampa Bay 37-15
.660 Baltimore 33-17
.633 Texas 31-18
.620 Atlanta 31-19

STANDINGS: Rangers hold a 3.0-game lead in the A.L. West over 2nd-place HOU for the 1st time since 5/16…3-G lead in A.L. West is now tied for largest division lead in A.L. (also TB, +3.0 GA of BAL) and T2nd in MLB (ATL, +5.5 GA of NYM)… team has managed to gain 2 G on HOU in past 3 days…club held a lead of 2+ G in the division for 14-straight days (5/7- 21), which was snapped after Mon. loss at PIT.

  • TEX has had sole possession of 1st place in the West for 20 straight, 27 of 28, and 40 of the last 42 days beg. 4/14… season-best +4.0-G lead on 5/14 was largest since end of 2016 (+9.0 GA), just 6th season in TEX history to have a lead of 4.0+ G in the West as early as 5/14…TEX has been alone or tied atop the division for 55 of the season’s first 56 days (exception: 4/8).

SERIES STUFF: Club has gone 6-1-1 in last 8 series and 10-2-1 in last 13…team is 11-4-1 overall in series this year, going 6-2-1 at home 5-2-0 on the road…club did not win an 11th series in 2022 until 7/11-13 vs. OAK…TEX won 4 straight series 4/10-23, longest such span since going 5-0-0 from 6/15-7/1/18…team has won all games of a series 3 times during this campaign (3-0, 3/30-4/2 vs. PHI; 3-0, 4/17-19 at KC; 3-0, 5/19-21 vs. COL)…club is 6-2-0 in last 8 series on the road.

LONG ROAD: TEX is 2-1 in the 1st 3 games of a 9-G, 10-day road trip that takes the team thru the end of May…marks the Rangers’ 2nd-consecutive 3-city road trip (7-3 from 5/5-14 at LAA/SEA/OAK), and the 2nd of a trio of 3-city trips in 2023 (also 8/21-30 at ARI/MIN/NYM)…team has won 6 of 8 and 9 of 12 on road after a season-long 4-G away losing skid…club is 15-10 (.600) on road, 2nd-best away win pct. in A.L., 3rd in MLB…TEX’s lone time being swept in ’23 came on a 3-day trip to CIN from 4/24-26.

  • Club has won 4 straight road series for 1st time since 9/9/16-4/13/17 at LAA/HOU/OAK/LAA…last time that TEX won 5-consecutive road series? 5/20-6/19/16 at HOU/CLE/ SEA/OAK/STL.

VS. BALTIMORE: Rangers start their 2nd series of ’23 against the Orioles tonight…club is 1-2 against BAL after the Orioles took 2 of 3 in Arlington from 4/3-5…TEX has lost 8 of 9 against the O’s dating back to the start of ’22, including an 0-6 showing last season, which was the first winless campaign against an A.L. opponent in WAS/TEX franchise history…TEX is 4-12 vs. BAL since start of ’21…BAL leads at Camden Yards (71-63-1) and all-time series (273-219-1).

  • Elias Sports Bureau confirms that tonight marks the 2nd time in Rangers/Orioles history that both teams face off while holding season records of 13-or-more games above .500… last time it happened? Aug. 2016…both teams played a 3 G series with BAL entering the series at 59-45 and TEX 62-44.
  • The last time that both teams held top 3 records in MLB entering a matchup between them? May 8, 2012…both held a 3-way tie with LAD for best record at 19-10.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: In the 3-2 win on Wed. at PIT, TEX scored each of its 3 runs in the 1st inning…it was just the 16th win in club history in which the Rangers scored all of club’s 3+ R in a game in the 1st inning (last 5-2 win on 7/13/22 vs. OAK)…it was just the 5th such road win in Rangers history, 1st in 20 years…the other 4 away instances: 8/12/75 at DET (4-3 win), 5/28/76 at MIN (4-0), 8/20/95 at CWS (6-4), and 8/8/03 at TOR (5-3)…it was 17th time this season in which the Rangers have scored in the 1st inning of a game.

CENTURY MARK: Will Smith recorded a 5-out save on Wed. against the Pirates, securing his 100th career save in the process…he is now the 17th active ML pitcher with 100-or-more career saves…Smith has converted saves in each of last 5 G, retiring all 15 BF w/ 9 SO (5.0 SHO IP), and is 9-for-10 in save tries in ‘23…his team-high 9 saves rank T7th in the A.L.

7/8/77 Darold Knowles CAL
6/15/92 Jeff Russell CAL
7/30/05 Francisco Cordero TOR
5/24/23 Will Smith PIT

BATTER UP: TEX leads MLB w/ 6.33 R/G and is T1st w/ 310 R (also TB)…club has 4+ R in 35 G this season, T2nd in MLB (37-TB, 35-ATL/BAL/TEX)…TEX leads MLB w/ a .284 BA in May, and A.L.-high .799 OPS is tops in the A.L…club’s +112 run differential is 2nd in MLB (TB, +114), and marks a franchise record (previously +99, 2023).

  • The 310 runs scored by TEX in ’23 are the 2nd-most over the first 49 G of a season in franchise history (314-1998)… club leads MLB with 12 G Of 10+ R and 14 innings of 5+ R.
  • Club has a homer in 8 straight road games, the longest away run in ’23.

COUNT ON SEMIEN: Marcus Semien on Wednesday extended his hitting streak to a season high 14 games, which is currently tops in the A.L. for active hitting streak, T3rd in MLB…his 14-G hitting streak is tied for the longest season hit streak by a Ranger in ’23 (also Grossman 4/16-5/6 and Heim 4/30-5/16)…club now owns an MLB-best 4 of the 16 individual hit streaks of 13+ games in Majors in 2023: 4-TEX, 2-HOU.

  • His 1st-inning solo-HR was his 16th-career leadoff HR and 2nd this season (also 4/1 vs. PHI)…4 of his 16 leadoff blasts have come as a member of TEX, as he ranks T2nd in club history in leadoff HR as a 2B: 27-Kinsler, 4-Semien/M.Young.
  • Tied with TB’s Wander Franco for the MLB lead in bWAR (3.0), Semien has hits in 20 of 21 G in May at .337/.406/.406/.957, along with a 22-G on-base streak…he has also reached base via H/BB in 24-straight road games.

STREAK NOTES: Josh Jung is riding an 8-G hitting streak, T2nd-longest in A.L….Martín Pérez notched his 5th-straight win after an ultra quality start on Wed…Nathaniel Lowe owns a 6-G hitting streak, his 3rd this season of 6+ G…Jon Gray puts his 4-G winning streak on the line tonight

(4-1, 3.02)

TONIGHT: The 31-year-old right-hander is set to make his 10th start and appearance of the season in tonight’s series opener in Baltimore…Gray over his last 3 starts: 3-0, 0.90 ERA (2 ER/20.0 IP), 4 BB/19 SO, .171 opp. BA to drop season ERA from season-high 4.40 to 3.02, 10th in the A.L. and lowest since 4/9 (3.00)…his .227 opp. BA ranks 15th in the A.L…produced 17.0 consecutive scoreless innings from 5/8-Sat., longest span of his career and 2nd-longest by a Ranger in ‘23 (Eovaldi-29.2 SHO IP)…has logged at least 5.0 innings in 8 of 9 starts, as 50.2 IP are 3rd-most on club (69.1-Eovaldi, 56.1-Pérez)…6 of Gray’s 7 HR allowed in ‘23 have been solo shots…this is Gray’s 2nd season with Texas after signing a 4-year free agent contract with the club on 12/1/21…was hindered by several injuries last season, but still managed to post a 7-7 record, 3.96 ERA (56 ER/127.1 IP), and 134 strikeouts over 24 starts…prior to joining the Rangers, the right-hander had spent his entire pro career with Colorado, ranking 3rd in Rockies history with 849 strikeouts while also placing among the all-time team leaders with 151 starts, 829.1 innings, and 53 wins from 2015-21…was the 3rd overall selection by Colorado in the 2013 MLB Draft after pitching 2 seasons at the U. of Oklahoma…is a native of the Oklahoma City area, growing up in nearby Chandler…Texas is 5-4 in Gray’s 9 starts in 2023.

SCORELESS STREAK / RECENT RUN: Gray enters tonight having won 3 consecutive starts to match a career high (7th time), his 3rd instance as a Ranger (also 6/17-28/22 and 7/8-21/22)…joins Eovaldi (3, 4/29-5/11) as the only TEX pitchers to win 3 straight starts in ’23, and is seeking to become just 2nd Ranger since start of 2020 to win 4 consecutive starts (Taylor Hearn, 4-0 from 8/24-9/12/21)…quality starts in 3 of last 5 outings, and is 3-0, 2.13 (6 ER/25.1 IP) in May, ranking among A.L. leaders this month (min. 25.0 IP) in wins (T2nd, 3), ERA (7th, 2.13), and opp. BA (11th, .215)…produced a career-best scoreless streak of 17.0 SHO IP from 5/8 (2nd inn.)-Sat. (3rd inn.), the 7th-longest scoreless span in the A.L. this season and 2nd-longest by a Ranger (29.2 IP by Eovaldi, 4/24-5/27).

LAST START: Will pitch on extra 5 days’ rest after earning win in Rangers’ 11-5 victory on Sat. vs. COL (5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R-ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 HR, 93 pitches/63 strikes)…it was Gray’s 1st career meeting against the team that drafted him and served as his home for 1st 7 MLB seasons…escaped a 27-pitch 1st inning in which the Rox loaded the bases with no outs and did not score…Texas scored 4 times in both the 1st and 2nd innings en route to an easy victory…Rox were last of the 30 active franchises that Gray had yet to face…lone run allowed was Harold Castro RBI single in 4th that snapped his career-best scoreless streak at 17.0 IP.

VS. BALTIMORE: Gray is 1-2, 3.68 (6 ER/14.2 IP) over 3 G/GS vs. BAL in his career, posting pair of quality starts…made 2023 season debut in series opener vs. O’s on 4/3 at Globe Life Field (L, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R-ER), game in which Texas was shut out despite O’s starter Kyle Bradish (1.2 IP) exiting due to injury…has one other start w/ TEX against the O’s (8/1/22 vs. BAL, 1.1 IP, 4 R-3 ER), taking loss in Rangers’ 7-2 defeat…exited that start and was on 15-day IL from 8/2-9/11 with left oblique strain…only career outing here at Camden Yards was 7/27/16 at BAL (W, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R-ER) while with the Rockies…his lone run allowed in that start was a solo HR to Manny Machado in the 6th inning, a ball that likely would be in-play with current LF dimensions here, and Rox would go on to win 3-1.

ON THE ROAD: Gray ranks among A.L. road leaders in ERA (4th, 2.20), opp. OPS (4th, .548), wins (T5th, 3), and opp. BA (6th, .186)…has seen far more success in 5 starts on the road (3-0, 2.20 ERA) than in his 4 starts in Arlington (1-1, 4.09 ERA) this season…opponents have batted .186/.259/.289/.548 (18-97) w/ 2 HR in his away outings vs. .274/.354/.464/.818 (23-84) at Globe Life Field…he still owns a lower home ERA (3.60) than road ERA (3.74) in his 2 seasons with the Rangers (beg. 2022), though a majority (21 of 33) of his starts in that span have come on the road…21 road starts over the last 2 seasons are T8th-most in A.L. and rank 2nd among Texas pitchers behind only Martín Pérez (23).

  • Despite calling hitter-friendly Coors Field home for the first 7 years of his MLB career (2015-21), Gray still owns better lifetime marks at home (36-20, 4.41 ERA) than on the road (28-37, 4.45 ERA). 1,000 K’S: Gray recorded a pair of strikeouts at CIN on 4/26 to reach 1,000 career strikeouts and become one of 46 active Major League pitchers with 1,000+ career strikeouts…he joined fellow Ranger teammates Jacob deGrom (1,652), Jake Odorizzi (1,172), and Nathan Eovaldi (1,126) as one of 4 pitchers on the Rangers’ 40-man roster with 1,000+ career strikeouts.
  • Danny Duffy, who is on Triple-A Round Rock’s Injured List while rehabbing from a left elbow injury, ranks 39th among active ML hurlers with 1,048 career SO’s. 2023: Has allowed 3-or-fewer runs in 7 of his 9 starts…has issued 18 walks, 2nd on club (20-Heaney)…opponents are batting .227/.304/.370/.674 (41-181)…11 of 18 BB have been issued to LHB (7 BB/20 SO vs. RHB)…opp. BA by time thru the lineup: 1st (.216, 16-74), 2nd (.274, 17-62), 3rd (.182, 8-44), 4th (0-1)…Jonah Heim caught 1st 6 starts, Sandy León caught last 3 starts…made early exit in start on 4/15 at HOU (ND, 2.0 IP, 1 R-ER) after he took a liner off his right forearm during Yainer Diaz at-bat to lead off 3rd inning…was removed from the game after attempting warm-up throws…X-rays were negative and was diagnosed with a right forearm bruise…earned 1st win on 4/9 at CHC (5.2 IP, 2 R-ER), when Will Smith stranded bases loaded in the 6th inning…began start 5/13 at OAK w/ 6.2 hitless innings before a Jace Peterson 2-out single to RF in the 7th…it was the longest no-hit bid by a TEX starter since 4/15/18 at HOU, when Bartolo Colon retired the first 21 Astros…Gray surpassed 1000.0 career innings during the start (on 2nd out in 6th inn.)…in starts on last road trip 5/8 at SEA (73 game score) and 5/13 at OAK (79 game score), produced 2 of the 5 highest games scores of his Rangers career.


YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Orioles defeated the Yankees last night, 3-1, in the rubber match of the three-game set in the Bronx…Are 3-3 in six games against the Yankees this season and 6-5 in their last 11 games against them.

Kyle Gibson earned his sixth win of the year after allowing two hits with a season-high four walks and three strikeouts in 7.0 scoreless innings; marked his first scoreless start this season, first scoreless start of at least 7.0 innings since August 27, 2022 vs. Pittsburgh with Philadelphia, and the first scoreless start of at least 7.0 innings against the Yankees by an O’s pitcher since Kevin Gausman did so on August 28, 2016 at Yankee Stadium (7.0 IP).

SERIES-LY: The Orioles have won each of their last four series against AL East opponents: April 24-26 vs. Boston (2-1), May 8-10 vs. Tampa Bay (2-1), May 19-21 at Toronto (3-0), and May 23-25 at New York (2-1); according to the Elias Sports Bureau, marks the first time the Orioles have won four straight series against AL East opponents since 2016: June 14-16 at Boston (2-1), June 17-19 vs. Toronto (2-1), June 24-26 vs. Tampa Bay (4-0), and July 15-17 at Tampa Bay (2-1)…The Orioles have won each of their last two series at Yankee Stadium after also going 2-1 in three games from September 30 to October 2, 2022…According to the Elias Sports Bureau, marks the first time the Orioles have defeated the Yankees in back-to-back series at Yankee Stadium since 2014: April 7-9 (2-1) and June 20-22 (2-1).

CLOSE CALL: Of Baltimore’s 50 games this season, 46 have been decided by four or fewer runs, the most in MLB…The O’s have gone 30-16 in those games, the most wins in MLB and second-best winning percentage (.652), behind Tampa Bay (.657, 23-12)… The O’s also have the most wins (21-12) and second-best winning percentage (.636) in games decided by three or fewer runs.

WRAPPING UP THE ROAD TRIP: The Orioles went 5-1 on their seven-day, six-game road trip, their best road trip by winning percentage (.833) this season, ahead of a 4-1 (.800) trip from April 14-19…The most recent trip began with a three-game sweep of the Jays in Toronto over the weekend…After an off day Monday, the Birds took two of three against the Yankees in the Bronx…The O’s are off to an 18-9 start on the road, tied with the 1987 and 2005 teams for the second-best road start through 27 games in team history (since 1954), behind a 20-7 start in 1969…Baltimore currently owns the most road wins and second-best road winning percentage (.667) in MLB, behind Atlanta (.708, 17-7); the O’s and Braves are the only teams without double-digit road losses so far this season.

FEELS GOOD TO BE HOME: The O’s kick off a six-game homestand tonight with the first of three games against the Rangers through Sunday…The O’s will then host the Guardians for three games from May 29-31…The Birds are 15-8 (.652) in Baltimore and own the third-best home winning percentage in the AL and fourth-best in MLB.

TAKING ON TEXAS: The O’s are facing the Rangers for the second and final time this season…The Birds took two out of three from the Rangers at Globe Life Field from April 3-5…Won eight straight games against Texas from July 4, 2022 to April 4, 2023, their longest winning streak against a single opponent since also winning eight in a row against the Mariners from July 3 to September 19, 2012…Baltimore went 6-0 against Texas last season, their first sweep of a season series against a single opponent since 2020 against the Phillies (3-0) and their first season sweep of at least six games against a single opponent since 2010 against Los Angeles-AL (6-0)… Marked Baltimore’s first season sweep of any length against Texas, and the first time the Rangers had ever been swept in a season series by an American League opponent.

WHAT’S TRENDING: The O’s have won 24 of their last 34 games, 27 of 38, and 29 of 41…Entering today’s games, the 33-17 overall record ranks second in MLB to start the season and is the fourth-best record by an O’s team through the first 50 games of a season since 1954 (see boxes at right)…Through May 25, the Rays (37-15), Braves (31- 19), Dodgers (31-20), Rangers (31-18), and Yankees (30-22) are the only other teams with 30 wins this season, and the Rays, Rangers, and Braves are the only other teams with less than 20 losses.

The Orioles are 95-66 since June 1, 2022, a 96-win pace; the .590 winning percentage during that time is the second-best in the AL and fourth-best in MLB, trailing the Braves (.673, 109-53), Dodgers (.665, 109-55), and Astros (.634, 102-59).

HE GETS ON BASE: Adam Frazier owns a career-long 18-game on-base streak since May 6; his previous career high was 17 games from August 20 to September 7, 2019 with the Pirates…It is the longest streak by an O’s batter this season, fourth-longest active streak in the AL and seventh-longest active streak in MLB…Frazier is slashing .273/.333/.500 (18-for-66) with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, eight runs scored, 13 RBI, five walks, and a stolen base during his current streak…Frazier also owns a season-long eight-game hitting streak since May 17, during which time he is slashing .375/.375/.688 (12-for-32) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs, six runs scored, and seven RBI.

Frazier currently owns a 9.2 percent strikeout rate, which ranks in the top two percent of MLB, per Statcast.

He is one of eight qualified MLB hitters with more walks than strikeouts (17 BB/16 K), including teammate Adley Rutschman (40 BB/31 K).

WHAT A RELIEF: The Baltimore bullpen owns a 3.00 ERA (63 ER/189.0 IP), second-best in MLB behind the Yankees (2.97)…O’s relievers have 15 wins this season, tied with Arizona and New York-AL for the most in the majors…The O’s are second in MLB with 228 strikeouts from the ‘pen, trailing Kansas City (233)…Baltimore’s 2.44 ERA (23 ER/85.0 IP) by relievers at home ranks second in MLB, behind Cleveland (2.29).

ROSTER MOVES: The Orioles today reinstated infielder Ramón Urías (left hamstring strain) from the 10-day Injured List…In a corresponding move, infielder Joey Ortiz was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.


QUICK HITS: Slated to make his 10th start of the season, fifth at home, and second career start against the Rangers tonight…Worked 5.0 shutout innings on April 23 vs. Detroit and April 29 at Detroit to become the youngest O’s pitcher (23-164) to toss 5.0-or-more scoreless innings in back-to-back games since Dave Ford (21-259) from September 2-14, 1978, and the youngest O’s starter to accomplish the feat since Jack Fisher (21-188) did so in three straight starts from August 29 to September 8, 1960…Made his MLB debut on April 5 at Texas, becoming the first Oriole to make his debut this season…Thirteen players (7 pitchers) made their debut for the O’s in 2022…Also became the first O’s pitcher to start his Major League debut since DL Hall on August 13, 2022, and the youngest O’s pitcher (23-140) to start his debut since Kevin Gausman (22-137) on May 23, 2013 at Toronto…Had his contract selected to the 40-man roster on November 15, 2022…Originally selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 11 overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

LAST TIME OUT: Did not factor in the decision in his first career start against Toronto on May 20 at Rogers Centre…Allowed two runs on four hits (1 HR), with one walk and six strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work…Both runs scored on a two-run homer by George Springer…Threw 91 pitches, 54 strikes.

PACKING A PUNCH: Rodriguez’s 50 strikeouts through his first nine career starts are the most by an O’s hurler in his first nine games in franchise history (since 1954)…Recorded a career-high nine punchouts on April 29 (G2) at Detroit, becoming the youngest O’s pitcher (23-164) to record nine-or-more strikeouts in a start since John Parrish (22-241) also fanned nine batters on July 24, 2000 vs. New York-AL…Entering tonight’s games, he ranks among rookie leaders (min. 25.0 IP) in K/9 (2nd, 10.71), strikeouts (3rd, 50), and innings pitched (6th, 42.0).

AGAINST THE RANGERS: Making his second career start against the Rangers tonight…Made his Major League debut against the Rangers on April 5 at Globe Life Field…Did not factor in the decision after allowing two runs on four hits, with one walk, and threw five strikeouts in 5.0 innings…Threw 83 pitches, 53 strikes.

AGAINST THE AL WEST: Making his fourth career start against the AL West tonight…Is 0-1 against the division with a 10.66 ERA (15 ER/ 12.2 IP)…Last time out against the division, he suffered his first career loss in his first career start against the Angels on May 15 at Oriole Park; allowed a career-high eight runs on a career-high nine hits (2 HR), and three walks with three strikeouts in 3.1 innings, the shortest outing of his career…Left with a runner on first base who later scored…Threw 79 pitches, 47 strikes.

HIGH TIDE: Started Norfolk’s 2023 season opener on March 31 at Durham; did not factor in the decision after allowing three runs (2 ER) on four hits (1 HR) with four walks, two strikeouts, and a wild pitch in 4.0 innings…Threw 75 pitches, 48 strikes…Went 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA (17 ER/69.2 IP) and 97 strikeouts in 14 starts for the Tides in 2022…Named International League Pitcher of the Month for May 2022, going 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA (8 ER/32.0 IP) and 48 strikeouts in six starts… Left his start on June 1 vs. Jacksonville with a strained right lat muscle…At the time of his injury, he led the International League in starts (11), ERA (2.09), innings pitched (56.0), batting average against (.168), WHIP (0.84), and strikeouts (80).

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