We are coming down the home stretch in the minor league seasons with the regular season finales set for Sept. 2 in several leagues, and a few Orioles affiliates remain in playoff contention.
After a 7-2 win last night, Triple-A Norfolk is 66-61 and one game behind Pawtucket in the International League's wild card race. There are four teams within 2 1/2 games in the chase for one playoff spot.
Double-A Bowie beat Erie 4-2 last night to go to 62-60. The Baysox are in fourth place, but just three games out of first place and two out of second. The top two finishers in each division make the Eastern League playoffs.
Young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez pitched five scoreless innings Thursday night allowing only four hits and he struck out eight.
"Rodriguez was very good tonight," Bowie manager Gary Kendall said. "The only unfortunate thing is that his pitch count got a little high because I would have liked to get one more out of him. He had all three of his pitches tonight - he located his fastball and threw some good sliders and changeups. I thought he was as good as he has been all year and that was certainly the start we needed."
Caleb Joseph hit his team-leading 19th homer and drove in three for Bowie in the win. Joseph has 87 RBIs and needs 13 over the final 20 games to become the second Baysox player to ever get to 100. Calvin Pickering drove in 114 for Bowie in 1998.
Single-A Frederick is only 20-31 in the second half of the Carolina League season, but is only three games out of a playoff spot. Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez made his Frederick debut last night, going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Short-season Single-A Aberdeen, looking for its first playoff berth in the New York-Penn League, won last night to improve to 28-24 and leads its division by two games with the regular season ending Sept. 4.
The Gulf Coast League regular season ends Aug. 29 and the GCL Orioles are one game out of first place with a record of 26-22. They trail the GCL Red Sox, but they beat the Red Sox the last two days to gain ground.