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Orioles on deck: What to watch Friday at Rangers, plus series matchups

Orioles (48-53) vs. Rangers (49-52)

Where: Globe Life Park in Arlington

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First pitch: 8:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (1-5, 7.01 ERA) vs. Rangers RHP Andrew Cashner (5-8, 3.64)

Series matchup

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.62, 17th); Rangers (4.93, seventh)

Average: Orioles (.258, 13th); Rangers (.239, 28th)

Home runs: Orioles (143, ninth); Rangers (154, third)

OPS: Orioles (.743, 16th); Rangers (.743, 17th)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (5.11, 29th); Rangers (4.50, 17th)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (5.90, 29th); Rangers (4.54, 16th)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (4.01, 13th); Rangers (4.61, 25th)

Fielding (MLB rank)

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Fielding percentage: Orioles (.986, ninth); Rangers (.984, 17th)

Errors: Orioles (54, 11th fewest); Rangers (54, t-12th most)

UZR/150: Orioles (-4.6, 26th); Rangers (3.5, ninth)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (-7, 16th); Rangers (15, t-eighth)

What to watch

1. Last gasp. The Orioles are down to three games remaining before the nonwaiver trade deadline, and this weekend's series against the Rangers might not be the best gauge for whether to buy or sell. The Orioles swept four games from the Rangers at Camden Yards from July 17-20. The Rangers are 5-2 since then, and they are one of five teams between the Orioles and the second wild-card spot. The Orioles have a chance to close to within 2½ games of a postseason spot by the time the weekend ends, but that will require a good amount of help.

2. Power performers. The Orioles have homered in 10 straight games, hitting 17 total during that stretch. That has been part of an offense-wide improvement, as the Orioles are averaging 6.4 runs per game and have an .865 OPS during that time — even after being held to one run Wednesday. See if they can homer for an 11th straight game Friday.

3. Tillman on top. Chris Tillman has put together his best three-start stretch since his first three starts of the season. He has a 3.31 ERA over his past three games, with six earned runs in 16 1/3 innings. Another solid start will make this his best sequence of starts in 2017.

Orioles lineup

CF Adam Jones

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

1B Chris Davis

DH Mark Trumbo

LF Trey Mancini

RF Seth Smith

C Welington Castillo

SS Rubén Tejada​​​

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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