After opening the series with a 3-1 win last night, the Orioles have a chance to take the series, and the season series, from the Rangers with a win tonight. The pitching matchup is the same as last Thursday’s Orioles-Rangers game in Baltimoe, a game which the Orioles also won, 3-1. For the Rangers, Ross Wolf will be making just his third career start, while Miguel Gonzalez will get the ball for the O’s.
For what was only his second career start, Ross Wolf gave quite the effort in last week’s game. He went six innings, giving up just three hits, though two were solo home runs. He was almost exclusively a reliever until Yu Darvish went to the DL, prompting Ron Washington to give Wolf the starting nod.
Chris Davis and Brian Roberts hit the two solo homers off of Wolf last week. Especially with Wolf’s inexperience in the starting role, look for him to nibble the corners against Davis to try and avoid giving up the long ball. But just one little mistake can cost him, as he learned the hard way last week.
Even with Yu Darvish’s impending return from his injury, Wolf seems to be a viable starting option for the Rangers. Opponents are batting just .162 against him as a starter, compared to .276 as a reliever.
The Orioles will continue to roll with their three strongest starters in tonight’s game, with Miguel Gonzalez getting the ball. In last Thursday’s start against the Rangers, Gonzalez worked 6.2 innings, surrendering just one run on four hits with four strikeouts. The only run he gave up was a long solo home run off the bat of Ian Kinsler.
Other notable Rangers hitters off of Gonzalez include Nelson Cruz, who has two hits in six at-bats and has driven in a run. Also, Mitch Moreland has three hits in five at-bats when staring down the Orioles righty.
Gonzalez has been working deep into games lately, throwing over 100 pitches and going at least six innings in four consecutive starts now.
For the Orioles offense, runs seem to be hard to come by in Gonzalez’s recent road starts. In last three road starts, the Orioles have scored no more than two runs, dating back to June 6. Making his major league debut tonight will be Henry Urrutia, who many think can provide the missing piece to complete the Orioles playoff-contending lineup. That lineup’s first test will be to give Miguel Gonzalez some support in tonight’s middle game of three in Texas.