What's new for the Rangers and Orioles?
To understand this series, it's important to note that both teams underwent some significant changes since May. The Orioles certainly jelled quite a bit in that time, and the Rangers underwent massive growth, then a fall, only to rise back a bit again. The Orioles are rested, while the Rangers have some decent rest for a couple of days but are hot off the tails of a series sweep in the Wild Card round. Momentum favors Texas, but the rest favors Baltimore.
Over the summer, the Rangers added Aroldis Chapman for the bullpen as well as Jordan Montgomery and Max Scherzer for the rotation. On the flip side, Baltimore added pitchersShintaro Fujinami and Jack Flaherty to their stable of arms.
Of course, the Rangers lost Scherzer for the remainder of the regular season, but the hope is that he will make some kind of comeback in the playoffs. That is if the Rangers can last long enough. For Baltimore, Flaherty hasn't been the stellar pitcher they'd hoped for. It reached the point that the Orioles sent him to the bullpen to finish the season. But Fujinami crafted a decent September where he held batters to an average of just .191.
As for the lineups, both remain solidly intact from the previous meetings. The X-factor though for Texas comes in rookie Evan Carter. If he could pick up where he left off against Tampa Bay, then Rangers fans will be in for a treat.
What the series will come down to is the matchup of Texas bats against the Baltimore arms. History tends to lean towards arms in the playoffs, but the Rangers like to buck that trend. If the Texas bullpen can hold as strongly as they did against the Rays, then they have fantastic odds. Keep an eye on the site for upcoming series predictions, but the early read is that this should be an incredible series between two great teams!
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