The Baltimore Orioles traded away key players each of the past two days. The response was ideal on the game nights.
Now the trade deadline has passed, and there is a quick turnaround as the Orioles go for a three-game series sweep over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.Asked what he anticipates, Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said, "A normal day."
That might mean a good performance for the Orioles, who have developed some consistency.
First baseman Trey Mancini was traded to the Houston Astros on Monday, and closer Jorge Lopez was dealt to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
The Orioles didn't flinch, winning both nights, 7-2 and 8-2.
"I think they're rallying around each other a little bit," Hyde said. "It has been a tough couple of days. We've talked a little bit as a team. I like the way our energy level stayed really high in the dugout. We've played great the last couple nights."
Even so, the Orioles still have some things to figure out. Lopez's exit leaves a hole at the back end of the bullpen. It wasn't a tight game on Tuesday, so how such clutch situations might be handled remains to be seen.
But the approach seems on target for the Orioles.
"I appreciate how professional these guys have been," Hyde said. "They're going out and trying to win."
The Rangers are in a different situation. They have lost eight of 13 games since the All-Star break, and the shortcomings are visible from all angles.
"We couldn't muster much together offensively," Texas manager Chris Woodward said.
Texas will still count on Nathaniel Lowe against the Orioles. He holds an 11-game hitting streak in games against Baltimore after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday.
The pitching hasn't been smooth. The Rangers have allowed seven or more runs in three of their past four games, but they might have a good solution in the series finale.
Left-hander Martin Perez (9-2, 2.52 ERA) will be Texas' starting pitcher. He is aiming for his first double-digit victory total since winning 10 times for the Twins in 2019. Only six American League pitchers have reached double figures in wins this season.
Perez has won nine consecutive decisions since taking losses in his first two outings of the season. In two road starts since the All-Star break, he worked a combined 14 innings and gave up two runs and seven hits with 12 strikeouts and five walks.
Perez is 4-6 with a 4.91 ERA all-time against the Orioles, whom he has faced 15 times, including 13 times as a starter.
The Orioles will go with right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-4, 7.01 ERA). The rookie returned from a stint with Triple-A Norfolk to hold the host Cincinnati Reds to two runs in five innings in his first game back on Friday.
However, in his two most recent road games with Baltimore before that, he was shelled for a total of 11 runs and 15 hits across six innings in games against the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. As he is from Arizona, perhaps he could have benefited from the sultry Texas conditions, but the stadium roof is bound to be closed for this one with the midday start.
Clearly, the Orioles are testing new pieces to the puzzle this week. Outfielder Yusniel Diaz made his major league debut by pinch-hitting in the ninth inning on Tuesday. He struck out.
--Field Level Media