Some numbers on the O's against the AL East and a minor league playoffs update

Some of you have already come to the conclusion that the Orioles do not stack up in the American League East. After Saturday's loss at New York, the Orioles are in fourth place in the division.

Some of these numbers are not pretty: The Orioles have lost four of their last five in the AL East in addition to losing eight of their last 10, and 11 of their last 17 division games.

In the last two weeks they have had key series with Tampa Bay, Boston and New York and dropped the first two games of each series. The Orioles are 1-5 in their last six AL East series going 0-2 against the Red Sox and Yankees, 0-1 vs. Tampa and 1-0 vs. Toronto.

If you look at some recent O's road AL East series, the picture is still bleak. They have lost five consecutive division road series, going 3-11 in 14 games.

The O's players keep talking about turning it around and making a run, but they've yet to do it. They've have gotten some very poor starting pitching during a 1-4 road trip and yesterday, when they got a very good start, they still lost.

The calender has turned to September. The Orioles could still get in to the playoffs, but they will likely need one remarkable month of baseball to get there.

Do you still hold out hope?

In the minors: Short-season Single-A Aberdeen took a possible big step toward its first playoff berth last night. In a first-place showdown, Aberdeen won 7-0 at Brooklyn to move a 1/2 game ahead of the Cyclones for first-place with four games to play.

Right-hander Sebastian Vader, the O's 18th-round pick in 2010, pitched seven shutout innings. The 21-year-old Vader is 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA. Over his last six starts, he is 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA.

Trey Mancini led a 14-hit attack with a four-hit game and is now batting .331 and five IronBirds drove in runs. Hunter Harvey (0-1, 3.52 ERA) makes his third start for Aberdeen at Brooklyn today at 5 p.m.

Triple-A Norfolk also had a good night with a doubleheader sweep of Durham that leaves the Tides one game ahead of Rochester for the International League's wild-card berth with two games to play.

In game one - which was the completion of a suspended game - Norfolk scored six runs in the eighth to rally and win 7-5. Steve Clevenger came up to the plate with the Tides down 5-4, and two on base, and hit a three-run homer for the lead.

Last night his agent tweeted that Clevenger has reached his dream. I would guess that was his way of saying Clevenger is going to be an O's September callup. The Baltimore product and 2004 Mt. St. Joseph grad, was acquired by the O's with Scott Feldman in the trade with the Cubs. Clevenger has hit .324 in 20 games with Norfolk.

In the second game, which was scheduled for seven innings, Norfolk won 1-0 in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Yamaico Navarro single. Tsuyoshi Wada pitched six scoreless in that game. Wada has an ERA of 1.43 over his last six starts.

Norfolk, looking for its first playoff berth since 2005, is now 72-63. If Norfolk does get a playoff berth, the Tides would face Pawtucket in a best-of-five series beginning on Wednesday.

Frederick's Michael Ohlman went 3-for-3 in the Keys' loss last night. Ohlman is now batting .312 which moves him into a tie for first for the Carolina League batting title. Ohlman hit .343 in 29 games in August.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six shutout innings in a win for Double-A Bowie last night. Rodriguez has allowed just one run over 25 innings in his last four starts and later today I'll have more on his strong finish to the 2013 season.

Bowie, now 71-69 with two games left, clinched a .500 or better record for the seventh straight year.

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