BALTIMORE — After splitting their opening two games, the last-place Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles look to enter the All-Star break on a high note entering their series finale Sunday at Camden Yards.
Texas won the opener 5-4 before the Orioles bounced back with a 1-0 win Saturday.
Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo extended his club record on-base streak to 50 games, adding further intrigue to the series.
“It’s kind of taken on a life of its own with the entire team,” manager Jeff Banister said. “The biggest thing is making sure he’s ready to play.”
Left-hander Mike Minor (6-5, 4.56 ERA) is trying to provide Texas with the series win. He allowed just three earned runs or fewer in his past six starts. In his last outing, Minor was dominant, allowing two runs and two hits over 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox.
This will be Minor’s 18th start this season and Banister wants to monitor his innings so he does not burn out before the end of the year.
“I believe in Mike, I believe in his ability, I believe he’s going to be a tremendous starting pitcher in this league and continues to get better,” Banister said. “So part of this is for short-term health, long-term care. If you do the math on the number of innings that he’s pitched so far, project him out for where he would be, so the thing we don’t want to get to in September where he’s piled up so many innings that now you’ve got to shut him down.
“There is some merit to, if you draw back an out or two, an inning here and there, the pitch count is conservative, you quite possibly could make those starts.”
Minor is also trying to be more conservative with his pitch count so he can help the team in the long run.
“It’s kind of hard to get through five, six innings, seven innings, with 90 pitches or under,” Minor said. “The good thing is our bullpen is really good, we’re solid back there. But I feel I should do my job and go six-plus every time … I don’t know if I understand the process. I see the process and what’s happening.”
Orioles rookie Jimmy Yacabonis (0-0, 7.15 ERA) was expected to start the finale against the Rangers, but he came down with an illness Friday. As a result, the Orioles will likely make a game-time decision on the starter and could resort to a bullpen game.
Even with the All-Star break looming, the Orioles will not use starters Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman out of the bullpen. Bundy was named the starter Friday night in Toronto when play resumes.
The Orioles continue to look toward the future and promoted catcher Austin Wynns from Triple-A Norfolk. Wynns is hoping to make a big enough impression to stick around the major league club.
“My mindset is to just go about your business day by day, and just perform that day and just get your work in,” Wynns said. “We won yesterday and we had a good All-Star break, too, but the mentality is the same. Just go about your business.”