Orioles down the stretch (Sept. 18)

The Baltimore Sun

[Back for its second year, "Down the Stretch" is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming night for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]

About last night

Davis and Valencia help Orioles beat Red Sox
Davis breaks Brady Anderson's club record with 51st HR
Chris Davis' 51 homers by the numbers
Notes: Hammel to take Gonzalez's spot in rotation

Tribune's weekly baseball power rankings
Tuesday's full scoreboard

AL East

BOS     92-60    --
TB       82-68    9
BAL     80-70    11

AL wild-card standings

TEX       82-68     --
TB        82-68       --
CLE      82-69     0.5
BAL      80-70     2
NYY      79-72    3.5
KC       79-72    3.5

(For full standings, click here.)

Tonight's game

Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m.

LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.99 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.66 ERA)

Key matchup

Dustin Pedroia has batted .538 against Chen for his career (7-for-13) with three doubles, a triple and three RBIs.

Other games that matter

Rangers (Holland) at Rays (Archer), 7:00 p.m.

Yankees (Hughes) at Blue Jays (Happ), 7:07 p.m.

Indians (Salazar) at Royals (Chen), 8:10 p.m.

Thought of the day

A year ago we were debating two primary candidates for American League Manager of the Year: Oakland's Bob Melvin (who won it) and the Orioles' Buck Showalter.

Showalter isn't going to win it this year, although I think he could garner a few votes if the Orioles make a furious push into the postseason.

Melvin has to be a candidate again after putting A's in the driver's seat for another AL West title despite almost everybody on the planet picking the Rangers or Angels to win that division.

Joe Girardi will also get consideration if the Yankees somehow make it to the playoffs despite all of their injuries, and Ned Yost has to join the conversation if the Royals make it.

But, to me, the top two candidates are old pals John Farrell and Terry Francona.

After being a mess under Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox were the only team that wasn't supposed to compete in this year's AL East. Yet Farrell has them holding the best record in baseball, and the only suspense remaining in their season is whether they'll hold on to homefield advantage through the AL playoffs.

Cleveland had the fifth-worst record in baseball last year, but Francona has the Indians in the thick of the wild-card chase in his first season there.

Francona won't win it if the Indians fall short of the playoffs, so at this point I'd bet my pretend dollars on Farrell winning that award.

If you had a vote, who would it go to?


Inside enemy clubhouses

Is Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte throwing his final pitches?

Rangers GM says he expects Ron Washington to be back

Royals catcher Salvador Perez is as hot as they come

Indians' Jimenez isn't consumed by velocity anymore

Stat of the day

Not only did Matt Wieters' ninth-inning sacrifice fly drive in the winning run last night. It also broke a tie with Cincinnati's Zack Cozart to make Wieters the major league-leader in sac flies with 11.



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