Orioles' McCann on Game 3: 'We're focused on today' - BaltimoreBaseball.com
2023 Postseason

Orioles’ McCann on Game 3: ‘We’re focused on today’

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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ARLINGTON, Texas—On the pregame lineup sheet distributed before Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Orioles and Rangers, Kyle Gibson is listed among among the relievers.

Gibson was warming up in the ninth inning of Game 2 against Texas Rangers on Sunday, and if the situation warrants it, Gibson could pitch in relief, manager Brandon Hyde said Tuesday.

That leaves open who would pitch a Game 4 on Wednesday night if the Orioles win.

“If I pitch him tonight, he’s obviously not going to be able to start Game 4,” Hyde said. “But we’ve got to try to win tonight. So he’s going to be available out of the bullpen for us in certain situations.”

If Dean Kremer and the Orioles win, they’ll trail 2-1 in the best-of-five series, and if Gibson doesn’t pitch, he’ll start Game 4. Kyle Bradish would be available for Game 5 in Baltimore on Friday night.

Hyde didn’t rule out Bradish, who started Game 1’s 3-2 loss, if there was an emergency.

“It’s definitely a different type of game in that there’s no tomorrow if we lose,” Hyde said. “So I’m going to do everything I can to win the game, whether that’s being more aggressive in certain situations or whatever it may be. I’m hoping that Dean can give us a really good start. Hope we can jump out, score some runs early.

“We’re facing a tough starter in [Nathan] Eovaldi. It’s a good club we’re facing. Hopefully, we can get runs early, swing the bats well, Dean will give us a good start. I will manage aggressively because there’s no tomorrow.”

Catcher James McCann, who didn’t play in the first two games and isn’t in the starting lineup for Game 3, said he expects a rebound at Globe Life Field.

“I think the thing in Game 2 that stuck out to me was how we battled back,” said McCann, who watched the Orioles battle back from a 9-2 deficit before losing, 11-8. “We got down big early and ended up putting up eight runs. It would have been easy to kind of roll over and die.

“That’s not what this team has done all year, and it’s not something we’re going to do now. I like the momentum that we built as far as battling back and hopefully it can carry over into tonight.”

Kremer is 0-1 with a 5.17 earned-run average in three starts against Texas.

“Dean has put together an incredible year for us,” McCann said. “He’s pitched in a lot of big games. Obviously, the game where we clinched — where we clinched the postseason and clinched the AL East.

“For a guy who didn’t get off to the type of start he wanted to, the adjustments he made in season and his bulldog mentality, there’s no one I trust more to have the ball in a game like tonight.”

Ryan O’Hearn will get his first start of the series. He’ll bat fifth and be the designated hitter, and he echoed McCann’s support of Kremer.

“Probably my biggest takeaway, the kind of competitor that he is,” O’Hearn said. “Any time he gets the ball, you can tell he’s all business. From the minute he gets onto the field and then, you know, when he’s on the mound, he’s the ultimate competitor. Definitely trust him in a big game like this, and excited to see what he’s going to do.”

McCann said the 2-0 deficit isn’t a topic in the clubhouse.

“I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about it,” he said. “It’s something that goes unsaid. We didn’t talk about it during the season. We lost two games in a row, three games in a row.

“It’s not like we sat around talking about [that] we better win today. Something that’s so special about this group is the tenacity and the grit that yesterday didn’t matter. The day before didn’t matter. We’re focused on today. We’re focused on each individual pitch, each individual inning, and the game is going to play out how it’s going to play out.”

O’Hearn said the mood is positive.

“Everybody knows what the deal is,” he said. “That’s just part of it. If you dwell on that, maybe that hinders your ability to play to the best of your ability. I think for me, I’m just going to go out, enjoy every moment. I’m going to compete every pitch and play hard. We’re going to try to win the game.

“I’m not going to be thinking about what could possibly go wrong the whole game. We’re going to go out and try to win the game.”

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