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Adley Rutschman, Orioles hope to recapture momentum against Rangers

Sportsnaut
Jul 4, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (35) reacts after his ninth inning double drove in the game tying run against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Even weeks after making his much-anticipated debut in the major leagues, Adley Rutschman’s contributions are dissected regularly.

Some of the latest evaluations are bound to be positive even as the Baltimore Orioles rookie catcher is batting .215 across 35 games.

He’ll carry momentum into Tuesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers in Baltimore.

The Orioles collectively should have a bit of a jump in their steps following Monday’s 7-6, 10-inning victory that included a game-saving, two-out double from Rutschman in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game.

“A huge moment for him, a huge moment for us,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “(Rutschman) has been grinding a little bit. Delivers a big hit late.”

Often the Orioles do much of their good work when they score first, though they’ve relied on late-game heroics as Monday’s outcome came courtesy of the sixth walk-off triumph of the season. They’re 24-9 in games in which they score first.

Baltimore’s improvement is notable given that its 37-44 record at the schedule’s halfway mark is a 10-win improvement from the same spot on the schedule a year ago.

It’s gloomier on the other side.

“We had a chance to win a game and we just didn’t finish at the end,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.

The Rangers have right-hander Spencer Howard (0-1, 12.15 ERA) slated to start in what will be his fourth appearance of the season but his first since April 29.

Howard is coming off an 11-strikeout effort in Triple-A and he’s getting another chance with the Rangers, who’ve lost four of their last five games.

If they’re going to get it turned around, upgrades on the mound likely will be necessary.

“We made so many mistakes on the pitching side,” Woodward said. “So many mistakes on defense.”

Baltimore will use right-hander Austin Voth (0-1, 7.34 ERA) as its starter. This will be his fourth start and seventh outing since joining the Orioles from the Washington Nationals.

The bullpen largely has been a strength for the Orioles this season. But with closer Jorge Lopez hitting a rough patch there’s reason for concern. He worked in three of the past four games, allowing at least one run in all three of those appearances.

“(Lopez) had really good stuff today,” Hyde said Saturday. “We just need to get through this.”

But relievers Keegan Akin, Logan Gillaspie and Dillon Tate — all whom Hyde identified as unavailable for Monday — should be back in the mix.

“We’ll try to piece it together,” Hyde said.

For the Rangers, they might look to first baseman Nate Lowe to get them going. He went 1-for-5 on Monday, but he has five homers all-time in 16 games at Camden Yards.

Texas scored in just two innings Monday and in only one inning on Sunday against the New York Mets, so that means it has scored in only three of their last 19 innings. In their last seven defeats, Monday marked the first time the Rangers scored more than four runs.

“We’ve got to get more run support,” Woodward said. “We’ve just got to play better.”

–Field Level Media