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Orioles down the stretch (Sept. 19)

By David Selig

The Baltimore Sun

8:30 AM EDT, September 19, 2013

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[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' 2-out, 2-run single in 12th inning lifts O's over Sox
Brady Anderson celebrates Chris Davis breaking his record
Kevin Gausman dominates Red Sox in 2 relief innings
O'Day rejoins club; Gonzalez could start Saturday
Wednesday's full scoreboard


AL East standings

BOS     92-61    --
TB       83-68    8
BAL     81-70    10

AL wild-card standings

TB        83-68     --
TEX      82-69       --
CLE      82-70    0.5
BAL      81-70     1
NYY      80-72    2.5
KC       80-72    2.5

(For full standings, click here.)


Tonight's game

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

RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.70 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (9-12, 3.56 ERA)


Key matchup

Chris Davis (.423 with 2 HRs and 6RBIs) is one of a handful of Orioles with strong career numbers against Lackey. Manny Machado is 6-for-11 (.545) with 2 HRs vs. Lackey, and Nick Markakis bats .353 in 51 career at-bats against the right-hander.

Other games that matter

Astros (Keuchel) at Indians (Jimenez), 7:05 p.m.

Yankees (Kuroda) at Blue Jays (Redmond), 7:07 p.m.

Rangers (Darvish) at Rays (Moore), 7:10 p.m.


Thought of the day

A wild of night of baseball has the AL wild-card chase even tighter than it was 24 hours ago.

But how much have the Orioles' playoff chances actually improved?

We've periodically taken a look at the projections from coolstandings.com, which uses a number of factors to determine each team's odds of reaching the postseason.

Heading into today's action, the Orioles have a 16.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, which is only a slight upgrade from the 10.3 percent odds they had yesterday, according to the website.

That's a pretty low number for a team just one game out, but it speaks to how crowded the race is and also the remaining strength of schedule of the condending teams.

The Indians, just a half game better than the Orioles in the standings, have better than a coin flip's odds (55.3 percent) of playing into October.

The Orioles' upcoming four-game series in Tampa won't be easy, but strength of schedule can be misleading at this time of year. By the time the Orioles welcome the Red Sox to Camden Yards for the season's final weekend, Boston will have locked up the division title (we presume).

The Red Sox will want to set up their pitching for the playoffs and won't want to overwork their bullpen, so all of a sudden those game become easier -- on paper at least -- than facing a 90-plus-win team would lead you to believe.

 

Inside enemy clubhouses

Boston's Ellsbury confident he'll return this year

Rangers' Berkman flunked his audition for DH role

Veteran Giambi sends a message to Indians teammates

R.A. Dickey says he's rooting for Rays in wild-card chase

Patience has paid off for the Kansas City Royals


david.selig@baltsun.com

twitter.com/DaveSelig