There have been only three home runs hit in the first two games
of this series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas
Given the propensity of the starters in Wednesday night’s finale
to give up the long ball, there’s likely to be a few more clearing
Both the Orioles and Rangers play in hitter-friendly parks, so
it’s not surprising that each team has a starter that ranks in the
top 10 in the AL in home runs allowed. Those pitchers will square
off in this game, with Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter (4-7, 5.49 ERA)
opposing Derek Holland (7-6, 4.98).
No pitcher in baseball has surrendered more homers than Hunter,
whose 29 allowed ties him with the Angels’ Ervin Santana for most
in the majors.
The right-hander has given up at least one home run in 11
consecutive starts after yielding a pair at Detroit on Friday.
Despite those mistakes, he limited the Tigers to three runs and
four hits in six innings before Baltimore’s bullpen faltered in a
Hunter will get another chance to beat his former team after
losing to the Rangers in his first try May 10. Acquired from Texas
on July 30, 2011, Hunter permitted four runs and five hits in six
innings of a 7-3 loss versus Holland at Camden Yards.
Holland has been reached for 23 homers – tied for seventh most
in the league – with 12 of those coming in his last eight starts
spanning 54 innings.
“He misses his spot,” manager Ron Washington told the team’s
official website. “He’s throwing the ball down the middle of the
plate. I’ve seen changeups leave the ballpark. I’ve seen fastballs
leave the ballpark. Am I missing any of his pitches? In certain
counts, he’s trying to get the ball in a certain area, and he’s
The Orioles (67-56), though, haven’t taken Holland deep in the
last two matchups, and have managed only three unearned runs
against him over 12 innings in those games – both wins for the
Holland allowed five runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings
Thursday at Yankee Stadium and was in line for the loss before the
Rangers rallied for a 10-6 victory.
Baltimore’s only homer of this series thus far turned out to be
a big one as Nate McLouth’s two-run shot capped a four-run fifth
and Pedro Strop struck out Josh Hamilton in a key spot to help
preserve a 5-3 victory Tuesday. J.J. Hardy and rookie Manny Machado
added run-scoring hits in the fifth to help Baltimore win for the
12th time in 17 games.
”Pedy (Strop) got a couple of big outs for us,” manager Buck
Showalter said. “The bullpen has been a constant for us. We’ve been
able to share the load and pass it around.”
The Orioles’ bullpen threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings Tuesday and
has a 1.57 ERA in the last 18 games. Closer Jim Johnson has allowed
two hits in eight scoreless innings during that span, converting
all seven save opportunities to tie for most in the majors with
That stretch is part of Baltimore’s 21-12 record since July 18,
matching Tampa Bay and Seattle for most wins in the league in that
time. A victory in the finale would give the Orioles wins in five
straight road series.
West-leading Texas (71-51), meanwhile, failed for the third time
to move a season-high 22 games over .500 and lost to the Orioles
for only the second time in 11 meetings.