Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers continue to be mystified by Orioles
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The Rangers’ dominance of the Phillies since 2014 has given way to the Orioles’ dominance of the Rangers since last season.
Baltimore beat the Rangers again Tuesday, 7-2. That’s the Orioles’ eighth straight win in the head-to-head series after they won all six games last season. The Rangers have 12 straight wins over the Phillies after sweeping the season-opening seasons.
The Orioles jumped on left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was making his Rangers debut but lasted only 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs. Five of those came on two home runs, a three-run shot by Ryan Mountcastle and a two-run shot by Jorge Mateo.
Heaney hadn’t pitched in a game since March 24, and he allowed five runs in that Cactus League start against the Cubs.
Maybe he was rusty. There’s no doubt the start was magnified after he signed a one-year, $12.5 million contract in the offseason. But there’s no doubting that he didn’t pitch well.
The Rangers didn’t exactly knock the cover off the ball for the third straight game. Adolis Garcia and Nate Lowe connected for their first homers of the season, but the Rangers had only four other hits in seven innings against former Rangers All-Star right-hander Kyle Gibson and two of those were erased by double plays.
There is a bright side: The bullpen hasn’t allowed a run since Opening Day. Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn finished out the game, saving the bullpen ahead of Jacob deGrom’s second start of the season today.
The right-hander should be able to give the Rangers around 90 pitches. In case he remains on a short leash, most of the bullpen will be available thanks to Dunning and Hearn.
Luck on his side
Josh Smith didn’t get through his pitch-to-the-face moment Monday unscathed. His jaw was swollen and he needed six stiches.
And that’s it.
He wanted to take batting practice Tuesday. The Rangers listed him as day to day. He’s in as good as shape as you and me.
The Rangers did not place Smith on the injured list, though they still could. But they were willing to play a man short to give him the chance to avoid the IL.
Ezequiel Duran got his turn in left field against Gibson. The Rangers had Brad Miller at designated hitter, not Jonah Heim on a day off from catching. The Rangers could have gone with two lefty bats, Miller and the switch-hitting Heim, but it appears the Rangers still aren’t sure about Miller in left field.
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