The Orioles wild-card opponent on Friday, the Rangers, coasted to the finish of the regular season, playing the hare to the As tortoise and losing an American League West title that they seemingly had locked up long ago on the final day.
The question is whether the Rangers can turn it back on in the postseason.
Noting how All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton dropped a fly ball in Wednesdays Game 162, Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal wrote: He and some of his teammates seemed almost bored throughout much of the season, as if they could reach another World Series on command.
The Rangers usually potent offense slumbered through the final month, as the team hit .232 from September on. Rosenthal noted that Hamilton struck out 37 times during that time, second in the majors only to the Orioles Mark Reynolds. (Not that the Os would be that concerned about Reynolds, who always strikes out a lot.)
The bad news for the Orioles about the Rangers pitching is that they must face Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA), one of the few Texas pitchers to be consistently effective this season.
Still, Rosenthal questioned where the Rangers heads are heading into the postseason.
The Rangers are in a far more vulnerable position than they ever imagined, and the responsibility is all their own. Either they snap out of it, or they will be remembered as quite the opposite of what their players and management team promised a club strong enough mentally to recover from back-to-back Series defeats. Right now, the Rangers look like a team that has lost its way.
Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.
The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning.
After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.
This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.
The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.
Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.
Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.
The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.
The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.
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The Orioles' Manny Machado is the early leader among American League shortstops in the first results of All-Star voting released by Major League Baseball Tuesday.
Machado holds a lead of 110,131 votes over the Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor.
No other Orioles' player is on the list, and Adam Jones isn't listed among the top-15 of outfielders.
The Astros' Carlos Correa was last year’s starting shortstop for the American League, but is in fourth place with 206,707 votes, trailing the Yankees' Didi Gregorius who has 208,583.
The next AL voting update will be announced June 19.