The Orioles will take the field tonight at Camden Yards to open a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox. They need one win to clinch their 10th American League East division championship and first since the 2014 season.
The Orioles (99-59) can also become the sixth team in club history and first since 1980 to win 100 games.
Last night the club improved to 40 games over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 1997 season when they were 102-57.
Baltimore's 5-1 win over Washington Wednesday night was its fourth win in a row. The O's have gone through a stretch where they lost four straight, then won four straight, lost three in a row and have now won four in a row.
During the four-game win streak, Baltimore pitchers have allowed just 15 hits and three runs with four walks and 23 strikeouts. The team ERA is 0.75 in this span.
Their team ERA for the year is down to 3.96, a season-best. They rank seventh in the AL in team ERA.
The Orioles are 30-18 (.625) this season in AL East-only games. This will be the first time they have a winning record in AL East games since 2016. If they at least split the four games with Boston, they will post a winning record over every other AL East team for the first time since 2014.
That season they went 13-6 against the Yankees, 12-7 versus the Rays and 11-8 against both the Red Sox and Blue Jays. This year they have gone 10-3 versus the Blue Jays, 8-5 against the Rays, 7-6 against the Yankees and 5-4 versus the Red Sox with the four to play.
The O’s AL East records since the 2014 season:
* 2014: 47-29 (.618)
* 2015: 39-37 (.513)
* 2016: 40-36 (.526)
* 2017: 37-39 (.487)
* 2018: 23-53 (.303)
* 2019: 24-52 (.316)
* 2020: 14-26 (.350)
* 2021: 20-56 (.263)
* 2022: 34-42 (.447)
The Orioles are looking for their first winning record against Boston since 2017 (10-9).
Boston (76-82) lost by 9-7 and 5-0 the last two nights versus Tampa Bay. The Red Sox have lost four in a row, six of seven and 10 of their past 12 games.
Since Aug. 27, the Red Sox are 7-21 (.250), the worst record in the MLB. If the Red Sox lose one game in this series, they will end the season with fewer than 80 wins for the second straight year. The only other time Boston has done that in the last 50 years was 2014-2015.
Gunnar Henderson has 28 home runs and 99 runs scored this season. With his next run scored, he will become the first Orioles rookie all-time with 25 homers and 100 runs scored and the first in the AL since Mike Trout in 2012 (30 HR, 129 R), per Stats Perform.
Righty Dean Kremer (12-5, 4.25 ERA) gets the start in what could be the division clincher - his 32nd start. The Orioles are 23-8 in his outings this year, winning five of the last six and 12 of the past 14.
In those 14 games since July 5, Kremer is 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA and .634 OPS against. He has 14 quality starts on the year.
But in two 2023 starts against Boston, he is 1-0 with a 9.35 ERA. In seven career games, he is 1-4 with a 7.52 ERA.
Lefty Chris Sale (6-4, 4.42 ERA) goes for Boston. Once dominant versus the Orioles, in three starts this year, Sale has allowed seven, five and seven runs to Baltimore. His season-high for runs allowed is seven twice - and both times it was against the Orioles.
So this season he is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA and 2.250 WHIP against the Orioles. They have hit .407 (22-for-54) off Sale in 2023.