I guess we can call off the panic for a while coming off the O's series at Kansas City. We can also call off the panic over the offense after Friday's 6-0 win over Boston.
Last night they beat a pitcher in John Lackey that ranked eighth in the American League in ERA and was 12-4 in his career against the Orioles.
Entering the weekend four games out of first, the O's need to do well this weekend and they got the series off to a great start last night as Chris Tillman pitched a gem for his 13th win.
Tillman is now 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in eight career starts versus Boston. In his last four starts against the Red Sox he is 3-0 with an 0.68 ERA. That is pretty good.
His outing produced the Orioles' eighth quality start in the last nine games and the starters have an ERA of 3.08 in that span. Over the last 13 games, the Orioles are 9-4 and their starters are 9-3 with a 3.31 ERA and 11 quality starts in that stretch.
Somewhat lost in the big games by Adam Jones and Tillman last night was the 2-for-4, two-RBI night by Manny Machado. Machado had gone 1-for-16 over his previous four games and was 7-for-46 over his last 11 games, but he came up with a big RBI single in the third and a solo homer in the seventh.
"He's getting that clutch gene," Jones said of Machado. "He's learning it, learning it from himself. The kid can play."
On the season, Machado is batting .444 (16-for-36) with five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs against Boston. He has six consecutive multi-hit games against Boston to tie the O's club record also held by Paul Blair, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Melvin Mora and Jay Gibbons. Machado now leads the majors with 135 hits.
Jones was asked the importance of this series.
"The second half is important," he said. "(Buck) Showalter said before the break, the last 10 and the first 10 after the break are the most important. People think August is, but people see that break and they can get lax over those 20 games. We know it's a big series. It's a big homestand and it started off right, now we have to do it again."
Last night was the Orioles' first shutout since June 14. That was also against Boston and the starter then was ... Tillman.
Tillman is now one of three pitchers in the majors (with Tampa Bay's Matt Moore and Detroit's Max Scherzer) who have at least six wins at home and on the road.
There was a lot of reaction on Twitter last night when I tweeted this quote from Jones, who said:
"I was telling Big Papi (David Ortiz) before the game, this isn't Fenway South anymore, this is Camden Yards."
Tampa Bay moved into first place Friday and the Rays are alone atop the AL East for the first time since June 11, 2012. That ended a run of 60 straight days that Boston led the division. Now the Orioles want their chance.
The Orioles keep beating the Red Sox with regularity. They went 13-5 last year and are 6-2 this season against the Red Sox.
Boston this season against the AL East:
6-3 vs. New York
10-5 vs. Tampa Bay
8-5 vs. Toronto
2-6 vs. Baltimore
The Red Sox have a .250 winning percentage against the Orioles and are playing .649 ball (24-13) against the rest of the division.
Scott Feldman (2-1, 4.73 ERA) faces Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.28 ERA) tonight in Game 2 of the weekend series at the Yard.