After a pair of sweeps in the American League portion of the Wild Card round, the final four in the AL is set. The ALDS will kick off with the Rangers and Orioles, two teams that were among the most productive in terms of offense from this past season. Here’s our preview of the ALDS matchup between the Rangers and Orioles.
Probable Starters and Start Times
- Game 1: TBA vs. TBA (10/7 at 1:03 PM ET)
- Game 2: TBA vs. TBA (10/8 at 4:07 PM ET)
- Game 3: TBA vs. TBA (10/10 at 8:03 PM ET)
- Game 4: TBA vs. TBA (TBD Time)
- Game 5: TBA vs. TBA (TBD Time)
- Rangers: -105
- Orioles: -115
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. As of October 5, 2023.
A Look at the Offenses
The Rangers came into the postseason with one of the best lineups among the remaining teams, and Texas proved that their regular season was no fluke.
Texas scored eleven runs in the Wild Card round, tied for first in the Majors alongside the Phillies and Diamondbacks. Much of that damage came in Game 2 when the Rangers posted seven runs and 12 hits. Third baseman Josh Jung ripped off three hits, while Corey Seager continued his incredible 2023 campaign with two more hits. Outfielders Adolis Garcia and Evan Carter each hit a home run in that game.
The Rangers are a nightmare for opposing teams’ pitching staffs. Texas’ lineup is stacked with hitters that can do damage, and not many teams can boast a bottom three like Leody Taveras, Jung, and Carter.
As for the Orioles, Baltimore finished seventh in the MLB in runs scored thanks to their own deep lineup. The Orioles offense is led by Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, the latter of whom will likely be the 2023 AL Rookie of the Year.
Henderson’s second half was simply incredible. The O’s infielder racked up 39 extra-base hits in the second half, tied with Julio Rodriguez for fourth-most in the Majors.
A Look at the Pitching
When we predicted that the Rangers would defeat the Rays in the Wild Card round, a lot of that had to do with Texas’ 1-2 punch of Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi. Both stymied the Rays and each has the stuff to do just that in the ALDS. And, the good news for Texas is that the Rangers — who are still without Max Scherzer and did not have an injured Jon Gray on their Wild Card roster — should have Montgomery and Eovaldi set up for Games 2 and 3.
The Rangers will likely opt for Dane Dunning in Game 1. Dunning threw seven terrific innings against the Angels in his final week of the regular season, and threw three more scoreless frames on October 1 before he ran into trouble in the fourth against the Mariners.
The Orioles, meanwhile, come into the 2023 MLB Postseason without their ace closer Felix Bautista. Bautista underwent Tommy John surgery last month and likely won’t be available until 2025. Luckily for the O’s, their bullpen is rather deep thanks to arms like Cionel Perez, Shintaro Fujinami, and Yennier Cano.
Then, there’s the O’s rotation. Baltimore’s rotation proved to be a roller coaster at times. Tyler Wells looked dominant in the first half before he gassed out. Dean Kremer got hit around in the first half but settled down to pitch quite well in the second half. The same could be said for rookie Grayson Rodriguez, who owned the sixth-best ERA (2.41) from August 1 onward (min. 50 IP).
But we can’t talk about the O’s rotation without Kyle Bradish. It’s not hyperbole to state that Bradish was one of the game’s very best starters during the summer. Over the final two months of the regular season, the righty struck out 73 over 64.2 IP and posted a 2.09 ERA. That figure was third-best in the Majors, behind only Sonny Gray (Twins) and Blake Snell (1.77).
The Rangers looked every bit like a championship contender in the Wild Card round. Their lineup from top to bottom produced and if the Rangers can get similar results from the pitching staff, Texas’ talent should win out here.
We’ll go with the Rangers.