Fresh off a sweep of the Philidelphia Phillies, the Texas Rangers will now turn their sights to the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers will be hosting the Orioles for a three-game set starting tonight and finishing up Wednesday afternoon.
Last season, Baltimore had a massive turnaround from the previous year. After several years of terrible baseball and high draft picks, the storied franchise went 83W - 79L in 2022. Even though they missed the playoffs, they were in contention up until the very end. What makes that record even more impressive is the fact that they sported a record of 52W - 110L in 2021. This should give Ranger fans some additional hope as the team looks to drastically improve upon their 2022 season record.
Baltimore started their 2023 season on the road in Boston and will come into the series with the Rangers at 1W - 2L. If not for one unfortunate dropped popup in left field by Ryan McKenna, that preceded a walk off homerun by Boston's Adam Duvall, the Orioles would have their current record reserved.
On a positive note, for the orange and black, the Orioles are full of young talent both at the major league level and in their farm system. Baseball America ranks Baltimore's farm system as number one in all of MLB despite graduating Adley Rutschman last season to the big leagues. For context, the Ranger's farm system is slotted in the number twelve spot in Baseball America's rankings.
Speaking of Rutschman, this kid can play baseball. The Ranger's just hosted the consensus best catcher in the game in J.T. Realmuto and will now be facing the guy that will most likely take his place someday sooner, rather than later. As the No. 1 overall pick out of Oregon State, in the 2019 MLB draft, Rutschman is already proving his worth. He finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year race last season to Julio Rodriquez and finished twelfth in the American League MVP voting.
Rutschman wasted no time to make his presence known this season. On Opening Day in Boston, he went 5 for 5 with a homerun and four RBI. Not only can the switch-hitting Rutschman swing the bat, but he is a natural leader that handles the pitching staff in a mature way. He is also the only player to play the same position and hit in the same spot in the batting order (2nd) for the Orioles through their first three games.
Texas Rangers set to host the Baltimore Orioles for a three game series
Another young gun to watch, playing for the Orioles this series, will be Gunnar Henderson. Henderson was selected in that same 2019 draft, but in the second round, out of high school. The 21-year-old is the top prospect in MLB and is the favorite to take American League Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the season. It will be fun to watch Henderson and see how the Ranger's own ROY candidate, Josh Jung stacks up. Henderson is hitless for the young season but has worked six walks giving him a .429 on base percentage, which is impressive for someone so young. Gunnar profiles as more of a long-term third baseman, but he has played both third and shortstop as well as been the Orioles DH during their opening series.
The probable pitching matchups for the series will be as follows:
Date and Time
Rangers Starting Pitcher
Orioles Starting Pitcher
Mon, April 3 - 7:05 CT
Jon Gray - RHP
Kyle Bradish - RHP
Tues, April 4 - 7:05 CT
Andrew Heaney - LHP
Tyler Wells - RHP
Wed, April 5 - 1:05 CT
Jacob deGrom - RHP
Kyle Gibson - RHP
This series should be a competitive one. Both teams have shown plenty of offensive fire power thus far as the Rangers have scored 29 runs to the Orioles 23 runs. The final game of the series will also give Ranger fans their second opportunity to watch Jacob deGrom pitch in a Texas uniform.
Wednesday's get-away game will allow Baltimore to head home to face the New York Yankees in their 2023 home opener. The Rangers have an off day on Thursday before heading on the road for the first time this year. Texas will play a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs starting on Friday afternoon before coming back to Arlington for a quick three game home stand against the Kansas City Royals.