[Down the stretch is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming day for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]
About last night
O's AL East title hopes take a hit in 5-3 loss
Markakis suffers a setback in his recovery
Schmuck: O's can't expect much help from Boston
Oakland wins, ties Orioles in wild-card race
Chris Davis homers in fifth consecutive game
Which James Shields will Orioles see tonight?
Monday's full scoreboard
AL East Standings
*NYY 93-67 --
*BAL 92-68 1
AL Wild-Card Standings
*BAL 92-68 --
*OAK 92-68 --
* Clinched postseason berth
Orioles at Rays, 7:10 p.m.
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-4, 3.45 ERA) vs. RHP James Shields (15-9, 3.62 ERA)
Adam Jones is a career .361 hitter against Shields (13 for 36) with five doubles, a triple and a homer. It would be a good night for Jones to get back on track, as he's only 4 for his last 23 (.174) over his last six games.
Other games that matter
Rangers (Harrison) at Athletics (Blackley), 10:05 p.m.
Red Sox (Lester) at Yankees (Phelps), 7:05 p.m.
Thought of the day
The general thought heading into this series at Tampa was that, if the Rays were eliminated from postseason contention yesterday, it would make for an easier final two games for the Orioles.
I'm not quite sure I'd start chalking up two automatic wins just yet.
James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson are still scheduled to pitch the next two nights, and Joe Maddon doesn't seem like the type of manager to punt on the rest of the season and start sitting all his regulars.
Just as the Orioles did last season against Boston, the Rays are going to make them earn everything they get over the next two nights.
And, as you can see from the standings above, there's still plenty to play for.