In the Texas Rangers’ last five games at Camden Yards, they have hit .376, drawn 29 walks and set a modern record for runs in a game.
The only thing they haven’t done is beat Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie and Orioles will try to hold down the Rangers’ juggernaut offense, coming off only its second shutout loss of the season, when the clubs begin a three-game series in Baltimore on Friday.
Most Texas players still remember Oriole Park as the site of their 30-3 win over the Orioles last Aug. 22, when the Rangers hit six home runs as part of a 29-hit onslaught and became the first team to score 30 runs in a game since 1897.
Starting with that game, Texas (60-56) has won four of its last five at Baltimore, totaling 59 runs in those contests. Its only loss in that span came to Guthrie on July 4, when the right-hander gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-4 Orioles win.
Mike Mussina pitched even better against the Rangers on Thursday, scattering eight hits in seven innings of the Yankees’ 3-0 victory.
Texas scored three total runs while dropping the last two games of its four-game set at home against New York, settling for a split. The Rangers, who still lead the majors with 651 runs, now hope to avoid their first three-game slide since May 18-20 against Houston and Minnesota. They trail Boston by 6 1/2 games for the AL wild card.
“I feel great,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told his team’s official Web site. “We played four games against the New York Yankees, and I think we held our own. They’re a playoff-caliber team and I think we proved we’re a playoff-caliber team. We definitely didn’t have anything to hang our heads about.”
They’ll face another hot pitcher in Guthrie (8-8, 3.35 ERA), who has allowed two runs and seven hits in 15 1-3 innings over his last two starts, winning both. He pitched his first complete game of the season at Seattle on Saturday, yielding four hits in Baltimore’s 3-1 win.
“I feel as confident now as I’ve felt all season and have a nice little groove going,” Guthrie said.
As a team, the Orioles (54-59) can’t say the same.
They return home after dropping three of their last four on a nine-game road trip. Camden Yards wasn’t much of a haven on their last homestand, when they lost five of the last six games.
Perhaps facing Texas’ Luis Mendoza (3-4, 7.00) will help. The right-hander has largely struggled since entering the rotation in early July, giving up six runs in four of his last six starts and compiling a 7.94 ERA and .323 opponent batting average over that span.
Mendoza beat the Orioles in his lone appearance against them last year, allowing one run in five innings of Texas’ 3-2 win on Sept. 21.
The Rangers have won four of six overall in the season series with the Orioles, dropping both series openers but bouncing back to win the final two games of each three-game set.