The Orioles welcome the Rangers for an ALDS clash.

After the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 on Tuesday night, they needed one more win to advance to the division series. They did just that, handling the Rays 7-1 Wednesday night at the Trop. Texas will hit the road for the second time this postseason to face the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers used shut-down pitching and clutch hitting to sweep the #4 seed Rays in the wildcard round.

The Orioles and Rangers split the regular season series 3-3. Baltimore took 2 out of 3 in Arlington back in April, and the Rangers responded by taking 2 out of 3 in Baltimore in late May. The O’s will look to improve their offensive performance, as they only batted .188 as a team in 6 games against Texas. They did hold the Rangers’ high-powered offense in check, allowing a .233 team average against them. One of the most memorable performances of the series was when Tyler Wells threw 5 no-hit innings in a 2-0 Baltimore win on April 3rd.

The O’s will host their first playoff game in 9 years and will presumably turn to the ace of their staff Kyle Bradish for game 1. The game will start at 1:07 p.m. and will be broadcasted on FS1.

The Rangers are a team that loves to hit home runs. They finished tied with the Minnesota Twins for the most in the AL, and third overall in baseball (288). Baltimore pitching has struggled to keep the ball in the yard at times, but they’ve still only allowed 177 home runs, good for 4th fewest in baseball. The key for the Orioles is to keep the game within striking distance. The Rangers have strong starters such as Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning. They’re bullpen is very shaky, however. After using Will Smith as the closer for the majority of the season, he was removed from that role after struggling down the stretch. Texas has used a “closer-by-committee” ever since. They’ve experimented with Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Leclerc. Unfortunately, manager Bruce Bochy hasn’t found the right mix just yet.

The Orioles offense can rally at any moment, so it helps that Texas has a struggling bullpen. Close games are exactly where the O’s want to be. They won 48 come from behind games in 2023, which is the most in the major leagues. They also have one of the best records in the league in one-run games. Even though they lack postseason experience, it’s huge that this team knows how to come from behind and win the close games.

If the Orioles can win 3/5 games in the ALDS, they will advance to the ALCS. The team needs to focus on what got them there: play good defense, have good at-bats, and take it one game at a time.

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