Down the Stretch (Sept. 13)

[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

McLouth and Machado deliver a walk-off win
Machado's gem shows he's wise beyond his years
Jason Hammel's MRI postponed to today
Upbeat Nick Markakis returns to clubhouse
10 things you should know about O's 2013 schedule
Wednesday's full scoreboard

AL East Standings

BAL       80-62     --
NYY       80-62     --
TB         77-65     3

AL Wild-Card Standings

OAK        82-60     --
BAL/NYY  80-62       --
TB          77-65      3
LAA        77-66     3.5
DET        75-67      5

Today's game

Rays at Orioles, 12:35 p.m.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.33 ERA) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (12-9, 4.06 ERA)


Key matchup

Adam Jones is 3-for-12 with 2 homers against Hellickson, and he's a career .320 hitter against the 25-year-old with 3 homers (all solo shots) and a double in 25 at-bats.


Other games that matter

Athletics (Anderson) at Angels (Weaver), 3:35 p.m.

Yankees (Hughes) at Red Sox (Doubront), 7:10 p.m.

Indians (McAllister) at Rangers (Holland), 8:05 p.m.

Tigers (Verlander) at White Sox (Sale), 8:10 p.m.

Thought of the day

Pedro Strop's name didn't show up anywhere near the top of anybody's game story last night. I'm sure he'll tell you he much prefers that to the alternative.

While Manny Machado and Nate McLouth earned the headlines from the thrilling 3-2 win over the Rays, Strop pitched a scorless eighth inning that was also important for him and his team.


Strop, the Orioles' usually reliable set-up man, had blown two key games against the Yankees in the past two weeks.

He worked a scoreless inning in Tuesday's 9-2 win, and when he came into a tie game last night, MASN analyst Mike Bordick mentioned that Strop had "righted the ship" with that outing.

I respectfully disagree.

Strop needed to pitch in another nip-and-tuck, every-pitch-matters situation to really prove that he was out of that funk. When I saw him coming in last night, my first thought was, "This could get interesting" -- and I know I wasn't alone.

That hasn't been the case with Strop most of the season, which is why a strong performace was so important.

He did allow a two-out single to Matt Joyce, but he finished the inning by getting pinch hitter Luke Scott to ground out. Jim Johnson worked the top of the ninth, then you know the rest.


The Orioles have stuck with Strop through his struggles -- and rightfully so, he's earned that. It was good to see him deliver in a big situation last night, and if he keeps getting key outs, those implosions against New York won't be the first thing people think of anymore when he starts his jog in from left field.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Jeter hurts ankle, but expects to play tonight

Nova returning to N.Y. rotation; Pettitte could be next

Tigers brass says there are too many September call-ups

White Sox's Adam Dunn misses 6th straight game (oblique)

Tweet of the night


: Been telling folks that Machado is only 20 on paper. The kid knows how to play the game.

Poll question