Orioles manager Buck Showalter checked the final 25 games on the schedule and said his team was aiming to go 25-0. That’s how you make up ground in a pennant race and extend your season into late October. You have 25 games left, you win all 25 of them.
We’re down to the last 20 games and the Orioles have won four of their last five. Showalter isn’t the type who likes to settle, but he’ll take a 24-1 finish without complaint.
The Orioles are tied with the Rays for third place in the American League East and for the second wild card, six games behind the Rangers. It’s far from ideal. It’s far from where they expected to be in the middle of September. But they’re still alive. The math says so.
Don’t believe me?
“We’re not mathematically eliminated,” said center fielder Adam Jones, “so there’s still something to play for.”
The Orioles are 9-4 against the Red Sox this season, including a three-game sweep on June 9-11 at Camden Yards. They won six in a row, 11 of 13 and 18 of 23. Times were good.
Former Orioles pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez is on the mound to again remind everyone that they didn’t re-sign Andrew Miller. He’s 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 18 starts and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four starts in a row and five of six. However, Rodriguez has gone five innings in three of his last seven outings.
Rodriguez’s third major league start came against the Orioles on June 9 at Camden Yards. He twirled six shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out seven. The Orioles reached him for six runs and seven hits over 3 2/3 innings on June 25 in Boston.
Left-handers are batting .305 against Rodriguez and right-handers are hitting .238. He’s 6-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 11 home starts and 3-3 with a 4.31 in seven road starts.
Rodriguez was 5-2 with a 3.59 ERA in nine starts in the first half. He’s 4-3 with a 4.53 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break.
Matt Wieters is 2-for-5 with a home run against Rodriguez and J.J. Hardy is 2-for-4 with a double.
Wieters caught in back-to-back games for the third time last night. Will Showalter make it three in a row, use him as the designated hitter or rest him?
Kevin Gausman has been stuck on two wins since Aug. 1, going 0-4 with three no-decisions. He’s 2-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 21 games, including 13 starts.
Gausman made two relief appearances against the Red Sox in April, allowing two runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings, and no runs and one hit in two innings. He’s 1-0 with a 2.66 ERA in eight games (three starts) against Boston.
David Ortiz, owner of 500 career home runs, is 4-for-8 with a double and two home runs against Gausman. Dustin Pedroia is 3-for-9, Ryan Hanigan is 2-for-5 with a home run and Mookie Betts is 2-for-4.
Ortiz has 46 career home runs in 223 games against the Orioles. He’s hit 59 against the Blue Jays, 48 against the Rays and 47 against the Yankees.
Twenty-four of Ortiz’s home runs after been hit at Camden Yards. He’s hit 39 at Rogers Centre and 33 at Tropicana Field.
Nolan Reimold singled twice and walked last night. He’s an on-base machine.
Reimold has hit safely in six of his last seven games, batting .360/.500/.720 with three home runs, seven RBIs, six walks and nine runs scored.
Keep him in left field. Keep him atop the order. It ain’t broke.
Zach Britton recorded his 300th career strikeout to end last night’s game.
Darren O’Day owns a 1.83 ERA in his last 21 games, allowing four earned runs in 19 2/3 innings.
The Orioles have homered in 11 straight games, their longest streak since 12 in a row on June 21-July 2, 2014. They’ve hit 25 home runs during their current streak.