BOSTON — Winning the first game of a series, only to lose immediately after, seems to haunt the Orioles lately. Fortunately, the Orioles found a way to take two of three from a bad Oakland team and win their first series in almost a month.
The Orioles did not make it easy on themselves, playing 12 innings in a rubber match against the A’s, but the series win boosts momentum. With the division-leading Red Sox waiting for them in Boston, Baltimore needs that momentum heading into the weekend.
Last Meeting: Over two months separate the last meeting between the Orioles and Red Sox. From June 1-4, the two teams split a four-game series at Camden Yards. The Orioles emerged victorious in the first two games. Boston won the final two contests.
In game one, four Orioles – Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis – recorded home runs in a 7-5 Orioles win. In game two, Manny Machado and Seth Smith homered in the first inning en route to a 3-2 Baltimore victory.
In the two wins, Wade Miley and Alec Asher turned in solid starts. Both pitchers made it to the seventh inning, and Miley completed it. Dylan Bundy and Chris Tillman did not look that impressive in their two starts in the second half of the series.
When this weekend series concluded, the Orioles sported a record three games over .500 (29-26). That was good enough for a third place mark in the American League East. At this time, then Yankees led the division by two games, with Boston on their tails.
Season Series vs. Red Sox: The Orioles lead the season series against the Red Sox, 7-6. At Fenway Park this season, the Orioles are 2-3.
Standings Update: As of Aug. 24, the Red Sox (73-53) lead the AL East by 4.5 games, with the Yankees (68-57) in second place. The Orioles (62-66) sit in fourth place, with the Rays (62-55) in third and the Blue Jays (60-66) in last place.
Elsewhere in the AL, the Cleveland Indians (69-56) sit up top in the central, and the Houston Astros (77-49) own the best record in the AL and therefore lead the west.
Wild Card Picture: Also as of Aug. 24, the Yankees and the Twins (65-61) hold the two Wild Card slots in the AL. With the Royals (64-61), Angels (65-62), Mariners (65-63) and the Rangers (63-63) all ahead of them, 3.5 games separate the Orioles from a Wild Card spot.
Game Times and Pitching Matchups:
Notes on the Orioles:
- Closer Zach Britton, who blew his first save in 60 appearances on Wednesday against Oakland, underwent an MRI on his left knee on Thursday. According to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com, the MRI showed no structural damage to Britton’s knee.
- Machado has hit six home runs against the Red Sox in 13 games. Earlier in the season, tensions simmered between Machado and the Red Sox. Machado probably tried to swing for the fences every at-bat, but that statistic is impressive nevertheless.
Notes on the Red Sox:
- After being selected off waivers by Boston on June 23 from the Angels, Fister is 3-6 with a 4.78 ERA in eight starts. Fister, a journeyman, is 4-2 with a 4.47 ERA in eight starts against Baltimore.
- Mookie Betts killed the Orioles last season, slamming nine home runs in 19 games. So far this season, in five games, Betts has tallied one long ball against the O’s.
Up Next: The Orioles return home for a 10-game homestand at Camden Yards. The Mariners come to Baltimore for three games, the Blue Jays follow for a four-game set, and the Yankees conclude the homestand over three games.
Image Credit: Boston Herald