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Series Preview: Orioles @ Rangers - Limited Engagement, Two Nights Only

Probably a better hitter than Lou Montanez.
Probably a better hitter than Lou Montanez.

Weird things happen when the Rangers play the Orioles. Join my guided tour of the bizarre and marvel at the conquests of the superhuman when the men from Arlington face the birds from Baltimore.

  • The Rangers score a team record 16 runs in the 8th inning of a 27-6 victory over these Orioles on April 19, 1996. The Rangers batted around twice in the inning. There were seven walks, five singles, a home run, a double, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and one grand slam before there were three outs.
  • September 3, 2002, Aaron Myette (proof that none of us should ever complain about a pitcher ever again) threw two tight pitches to Melvin Mora to lead off the game. Myette was then tossed from the game by home plate umpire Mark Hirschbeck. Todd Van Poppel came into the game, finished walking Mora, and walked the next hitter before then wiggling out the inning and one more without a hit. Joaquin Benoit took over and pitched six more no-hit innings before giving up a lead-off triple in the 9th.
  • August 22, 2007:
  • 2j45ah4_medium

    "AND LITTLETON GOT A SAVE! THEY SCORED 30 RUNS AND HE GOT A SAVE!" - Tim Kurkjian with a vocal assist from Matthew Lesko.

  • Ian Kinsler had only had one other five hit game in his big league career (Also against Baltimore) when, on April 15, 2009, he decided to go one better in the hit column and in the history books when he went 6-6, becoming the first Major League player in 119 years to finish with six hits in a nine-inning game in which he hit for the cycle.
  • May 19, 2010, the first Perfect Game by committee/40 run/20 run inning/7-7 with 7 home runs game in baseball history.

The best thing about all of the above wacky happenings is the coincidence that they were all in favor of the Rangers. Except for that last one, that one did not happen. You people are gullible. 

Wednesday, May 19 7:05: RHP Jeremy Guthrie vs. RHP Rich "Smilin'" Harden

Thursday, May 20 7:05: LHP Brian Matusz vs. RHP Scott Feldman

Hey guys, good news. The Rangers get their first look at Brian Matusz. But there's no need to worry, the Orioles get their first look at Joaquin Arias. Matusz, one of those left-handed pitchers that baseball teams keep throwing at the Rangers, is a youngster with promise. With promise comes hype. With hype comes expectations. With expectations comes scrutiny. You can see why being a young big league player is difficult when "promise" can turn into "scrutiny" within three sentences. Matusz has done well so far, however.

Matusz is currently sporting a 3.20 FIP and a respectable 7.4 K/9. He's walking too many at 3.4 BB/9 but he's also been unlucky with a .351 BABIP. There's no reason to believe he won't soon be one of the top lefties in the American League. There are pretty good odds that he'll look that way on Thursday against the Rangers.

There's no real reason to believe that Scott Feldman will soon be one of the top lefties in the American League because he is right-handed. He also, unfortunately, hasn't been very good. At least 2010 Scott Feldman hasn't been. While I am encouraged by practically everything he did between the 2nd and 7th innings in his last start in Toronto, providing some hope that things have turned the corner, there's reason to be alarmed by what the Rangers might get from Feldman this year. At just shy of 45 innings the sample is beginning to no longer be small enough to just shrug and hope.

The thing that worries me is Feldman still has a low strike rate (5.48) only this year he is walking a more batters (3.45 BB/9 in '10 vs. 3.08 in '09), he's allowing way more fly balls (0.90 GB/FB in '09 vs. 1.43 in '10) which means he's allowing more home runs (1.02 HR/9 in '10 vs. 0.85 in '09). He's also not stranding runners who get on base (54.7% LOB% in '10 vs. 72.8% in '09) which is hurting him because his BABIP is up from .275 in '09 to .333 in '10.

Perhaps the BABIP means there's some regression to a more '09 Scott Feldman that can be expected, and his FIP and XFIP are lower than his ERA, so perhaps the defense hasn't been showing up as much for Feldman this year as they did last year. Regardless, I'd like to see a couple of starts where Feldman gets some ground balls, doesn't walk too many guys, and gets out of a jam or two. You know, 2009 Scott Feldman.

However, thanks to baseball being baseball, any Feldman start could end in a Perfect Game/40 run/20 run inning/7-7 with 7 home runs game and the likelihood only goes up when the Rangers play the Orioles.


Baltimore Orioles (13-27, 5th place AL East)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Baltimore: N/A

Baltimore's Recent Results: 1-1 Series tie against the Kansas City Royals

SBN Orioles' Blog: Camden Chat

     Match-up: (as of 5/18)

























Overall RAR




Defense Runs Saved

















Questions to Ponder:

  • Brian Matusz or Martin Perez, who wins a Cy Young Award first?
  • Is it alright with you guys if Rich Harden cracks a smile while watching Blazing Saddles or while witnessing the birth of his children?
  • Did anyone else notice that Ty Wigginton is 5th in baseball in wOBA?
  • Zkmm4x_medium Is anyone else now fully engorged?
  • Will the Rangers have more or less than 3 bunts in this series?