The Los Angeles Dodgers will take aim at their fifth consecutive National League West championship, but their biggest rival, the San Francisco Giants, will have something to say about that, especially since they've fixed their leaky bullpen with former Nationals closer Mark Melancon.
The surprise team in the division could be the Colorado Rockies. They've beefed up their bullpen and think their rotation is strong enough to allow them to play meaningful games in September.
Here's a look at...
SAN FRANCISCO - Just as Jonathan Schoop's fly ball fell into the left field seats today for a three-run homer, the Orioles' improbable comeback complete, I tweeted the news and shot a glance into the visiting dugout. Players almost leaped out of their spikes, a few of them at risk of flipping over the railing. The euphoria could be felt for miles, or at least into the far reaches of AT&T Park, where the celebration still was draped in orange and black.
And then it disappeared, much like...
They were down by six runs at one point. In the ninth inning, they were down 7-5 and down to their last out.
But the Orioles completed an amazing comeback when second baseman Jonathan Schoop blasted a three-run homer in the ninth, leading the Orioles past San Francisco 8-7 at AT&T Park.
The Orioles were behind 7-1 after five innings, but scored the game's final seven runs. This was their 34th come from behind win of the season.
In the ninth, facing San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla,...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles were one out away from going 4-6 on the road trip, from falling 1 Â½ games out of first place, their largest margin since June 1.
They were once down by six runs, rallied and appeared on a verge of a frustrating loss.
And then it happened.
Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer to left field off Santiago Casilla with two outs in the ninth and Zach Britton recorded his 37th save in a stunning 8-7 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.
Britton stranded two runners,...
SAN FRANCISCO - Did anyone really doubt whether Adam Jones would be in center field this afternoon for the series finale against the Giants?
A pitch from Madison Bumgarner last night smashed into the fingers of Jones' right hand as he tried to lay down a bunt. He was in excruciating pain, downplayed it afterward and will lead off this afternoon.
The usual drill.
Manager Buck Showalter said he talked to head athletic trainer Richie Bancells about Jones' toughness, one of the veteran's more...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles have reached the final game of their three-city road trip, and center fielder Adam Jones remains in the lineup after being hit last night on the right hand.
Hyun Soo Kim is in left field and batting second. Chris Davis is batting cleanup.
For the Orioles Adam Jones CF Hyun Soo Kim LF Manny Machado 3B Chris Davis 1B Mark Trumbo RF Jonathan Schoop 2B Matt Wieters C J.J. Hardy SS Wade Miley LHP
Here are the pitching matchups for the Red Sox series at Camden...
The Orioles' 10-game, three-city road trip ends this afternoon when they face the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. They have gone 2-1 at Chicago, 1-3 at Oakland and 1-1 at San Francisco on this trip.
In their four wins, they have hit .325 with 11 homers and 19 extra-base hits and have scored 7.8 runs per game. In the five losses, they have batted .175 with two home runs and eight extra-base hits and have mustered just 1.4 runs per game.
The Orioles have scored seven runs on 15 hits in...
SAN FRANCISCO - Adam Jones said his right hand is fine and he's playing on Sunday. Kevin Gausman said the strike zone was flawed tonight and he's not happy about it.
Manager Buck Showalter expressed his initial concerns over Jones, knowing the club can't afford to lose its center fielder, and backed Gausman's assertion that the six walks were deceiving in the Orioles' 6-2 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park.
Jones was nailed on the fingers by a Madison Bumgarner pitch as he tried to bunt...
SAN FRANCISCO - When a pitcher sets his career high in walks before recording an out in the third inning, he's in clear danger of exhausting himself from chasing the plate.
Kevin Gausman tried to corner it, tried to trap it in one spot, but it kept getting away from him.
The Giants drew four walks in the first two innings and Gausman paid the price in the second, with Denard Span lining a two-out, two-run single into center field to prevent the Orioles from taking another early lead. Buster...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles remain on their road trip and Adam Jones figures to remain on a roll. No matter how the rest of the offense is functioning.
Jones' eight-game hitting streak covers stops in Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco. He grounded out in his first at-bat tonight, but he's 16-for-36 since leaving Baltimore.
The damage includes one double, two home runs, four RBIs and five runs scored. His average climbed to .279, its highest point of the season. He was batting .234 at the end...
SAN FRANCISCO - Orioles reliever Darren O'Day received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder today before going on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain, and manager Buck Showalter sounded confident that the absence won't extend beyond 15 days.
O'Day is eligible to return on Aug. 28 and Showalter said the reliever definitely will pitch for them later this season.
"I talked to Darren today," Showalter said. "I talked to Dr. (Michael) Jacobs. He saw him early this morning and...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles are beginning life again without reliever Darren O'Day, who returned to the disabled list today.
O'Day's right hamstring is fine, but a strained rotator cuff has removed him from a bullpen that leans on him for quality outings and leadership.
"I think he's really frustrated," said closer Zach Britton. "He prides himself being a guy who's very consistent, durable and it's pretty unfortunate for him right now. But I know he's going to do everything he can to...
It was a walkathon by Orioles pitchers tonight in San Francisco. They walked a season-high nine batters. That was not a recipe to try and outscore Giants left-hander Madsion Bumgarner.
They could not do it in a 6-2 loss to the Giants. Coupled with Toronto's win over Houston earlier, the Orioles (65-51) fell back into second place in the American League East by a half-game behind Toronto.
Losing pitcher Kevin Gausman had a wild ride indeed. He walked two in the first and escaped that jam, but a...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles placed reliever Darren O'Day on the 15-day disabled list today with a right rotator cuff strain.
Tyler Wilson has been recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take O'Day's spot on the pitching staff.
O'Day flew back to Baltimore this morning and had his shoulder examined by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs. Manager Buck Showalter said yesterday that he wouldn't have used O'Day in this series.
This is O'Day's second stint on the disabled list in 2016. He missed...
SAN FRANCISCO - The Orioles jumped out to an early lead for the second consecutive game and held onto it, with the bullpen doing a solid job behind starter Dylan Bundy.
Bundy improved to 6-3 with a 2.93 ERA and Zach Britton recorded his 36th save. Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis hit home runs, the heart of the order pumping again, and the Orioles moved back into first place in the American League East with a 5-2 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.
Trumbo and Davis hadn't homered in the same game...
SAN FRANCISCO - Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is 2-for-2 in two innings tonight and the Orioles have taken another early lead, scoring twice off Giants starter Matt Cain.
They were able.
Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters doubled with one out. J.J. Hardy singled to put runners on the corners, Dylan Bundy struck out in his first major league at-bat and Jones poked an RBI single into right field.
The bats are still awake.
The Orioles put two runners on base with one out in the first inning, but...
SAN FRANCISCO - Orioles reliever Darren O'Day flew back to Baltimore this morning because of a sore right shoulder, which team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs will examine on Saturday.
O'Day experienced discomfort in the shoulder yesterday in the eighth inning while allowing an inherited runner to score and two runs of his own.
Tyler Wilson is on the taxi squad today and could be recalled Saturday if O'Day goes on the disabled list.
Manager Buck Showalter said he wasn't going to use O'Day...
The Orioles begin a weekend series in San Francisco tonight, the last stop of a three-city, 10-game road trip. They went 2-1 at Chicago and 1-3 at Oakland to begin the trip.
Their 9-6 win yesterday ended a three-game losing streak at Oakland, where they had scored just three runs in the first three games. Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-RBI game and Adam Jones hit a solo homer.
One game doesn't prove that the Orioles are out of their offensive...
Manager: Bruce Bochy (10th season)
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: C Buster Posey (.291 average with 12 HR, 54 RBIs); 1B Brandon Belt (.280 average with 13 HR, 57 RBIs); SS Brandon Crawford (7 3B, 71 RBIs); RHP Johnny Cueto (13-3, 2.93 ERA); LHP Madison Bumgarner (10-7, 2.20 ERA).
Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (1-3 in 2013)
August 12: RHP Dylan Bundy vs. RHP Matt Cain, 10:05 p.m., MASN2August 13: RHP Kevin Gausman vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner, 9:05...
With less than a third of the season to go, the Nationals are putting it all together and sucking all the drama out of the race in the National League East.
The Cubs, leaders in the NL Central who struggled before the All-Star break, have gotten their swagger back.
The story line is different with the Giants, who lost their weekend series to the Nationals in D.C. and are having to do all they can to hold off the Dodgers in the NL West. They are 6-15 since the All-Star break, the worst record...