ARLINGTON, Texas—The Orioles know the math. They know that history is against them. They know they have to win Game 3 on Tuesday night at Globe Life Field against the Texas Rangers, do it again on Wednesday night just so they can return to Baltimore for a Game 5 in the Division Series on Friday night.
Teams that lose the first two games of a five-game series are 10-78 in those series, but the Orioles think they’re a special group. Not only did they win 101 games, the most since 1979, but they’ve avoided a series sweep since May 2022, 91 series and running.
They’ve won three or more in a row 16 times this season and lost three or more just four times. Their longest losing streak was four games.
Manager Brandon Hyde points to his team’s 52-29 record away from Oriole Park.
“I feel like we’ve played really well on the road this year,” Hyde said. “We’ve kind of had our backs up against the wall before … feel like we needed some must-win games and we’re in that situation right now, unfortunately.”
Hyde likes the club’s mood even if they’re 0-2 against the Rangers.
“I don’t sense that we’re playing tense or anything,” he said. “We swung the bat well [in Game 2]. We had some really good at-bats. Lost a 3-2 game the first game.
“Grayson [Rodriguez] didn’t have his best start. Made us go to the bullpen really early. That was going to be challenging to kind of cover seven innings at that point where everybody was going to have to pitch.”
“We did a great job of battling back. I thought our guys competed all the way into the ninth inning. I didn’t feel any sort of panic. Clubhouse is pretty loose right now. Clubhouse has been loose like just normal before both games at home.”
Ryan O’Hearn hasn’t had a hit in his last 25 at-bats, two in the ALDS, and he’s convinced the Orioles can come back.
“Definitely not our two best games that we played,” O’Hearn said. “We’re capable of much better. They happen. It’s time to turn the page and try to figure out how to win the next one and the next one and hopefully continue to play.”
O’Hearn’s was impressed with the energy at Camden Yards.
“I’m not ready to be done playing with these guys for the year,” he said. “All these guys feel the same way. We want to keep playing. Our backs are against the wall, but we’re still breathing. We’ve still got a chance.”
Trailing 9-2 in the third inning, the Orioles made it closer and lost, 11-8.
“Even though we lost, sometimes some offensive spark can translate into the next game. That’s what we’re hoping for,” O’Hearn said.
Gunnar Henderson, the favorite for American League Rookie of the Year, hasn’t played in a postseason series.
“Just going out there and continuing to play my game,” Henderson said. “Feel like you can get caught up in the situation and not allow yourself to go out there and just compete the way you normally have. I feel like being able to take a deep breath, assess the situation, and appreciate the opportunity that you’ve been blessed with.”
Kyle Gibson, who pitched in last year’s World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, has pitched in big games before. He could start in Game 4, if there is one.
“Do what you can to win. Try to not put too much pressure on yourself,” he said. “Obviously, it’s the biggest game of the year.
“I think we played a lot of games similar to this that were important … Two weeks ago, trying to battle the Rays to win the division and we lost the first two games of that series and battled back and won the next two.”
That four-game series was a small part of a 162-game season. Now, their season is reduced to one game.
“There is no, ‘hey, I’m going to forget that a loss is the end of the season,’ that’s human nature,” Gibson said. “It’s how you can take those feelings and take those emotions and channel them into the game. It’s not easily done all the time, but extremely successful and elite athletes do it really well, and we have a lot of those players here.
“It might be the first time for a lot of these guys. I think they’re as prepared as most young guys are that I’ve ever seen. I think you’re going to get the best out of these 26 guys, and you’re going to see a team playing with a little bit of fire and urgency and excited to get back to Baltimore in a couple of days.”
O’Hearn emphasized that he expects the Orioles’ season to continue beyond Game 3.
“There’s no magic,” he said. “There’s no secret formula to flip the script. We’ve got good players in here. We’ve got guys that want to win and want to continue to play together.”