Two of baseball's better teams in 2023 will do battle this weekend as the Texas Rangers head to Baltimore to take on the Orioles in a three-game weekend series. The Rangers come into the series leading the AL West Division with the third-best record in the American League. The Orioles, meanwhile, have the second-best record in the American League and are in second place in the American League East. The pitching matchup on Friday night will be Rangers' righty Jon Gray (4-1, 3.02) taking on Orioles right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (2-1, 6.21). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST.
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Despite a recent charge by the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers continue to pace the AL West heading into this weekend's series with the Orioles. Texas has won five of its last six games and seven of its last ten thanks to the best offense in the American League and a vastly improved starting rotation. Even without free-agent pickup Jacob deGrom over the last few weeks, the Rangers starting pitching has continued to get the job done behind an offense that is averaging over six runs per game. On Wednesday afternoon in the series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Rangers took the three-game series with a second straight win, 3-2, over the Pirates. Starter Martin Perez went seven innings and allowed just two runs while closer Will Smith picked up his 100th career save in the win.
“It's a cool number,” Smith said. “It's obviously nowhere close to the top. But it's cool to say yo u have 100 saves. (Manager Bruce) Bochy was the first guy to give me a chance in the ninth back in San Francisco. I enjoy that inning. I think it's fun.”
6-1-1 in our last 8 series. #StraightUpTX pic.twitter.com/jJxj37TtsW
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) May 24, 2023
The Rangers will hand the ball off to veteran righty Jon Gray on Friday night. Gray is 4-1 with four quality starts among his nine starts thus far this season. He has an ERA of 3.02 while allowing 41 hits in 50.2 innings of work with a K/9 rate of 6.9. On the road this season, Gray has been excellent. He is 3-0 with an ERA of 2.20 and three quality starts in his five road appearances. Gray has a 6.6 K/9 rate on the road this season. Gray has reduced his hard-hit percentage to just 35% this season.
Key Injuries: SP Jacob deGrom and OF Travis Jankowski are out and Ezequial Duran is day-to-day