Down the Stretch (Sept. 18)

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[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

Orioles pound Mariners, 10-4
Machado won't be a rookie next year
Jim Thome could be back in a week
Showalter optimistic Hammel can return
Monday's full scoreboard

AL East Standings

NYY       83-63     --
BAL       83-64     0.5
TB        78-69     5.5

AL Wild-Card Standings

OAK       84-62      --
BAL        83-64        --
LAA        80-67      3
TB          78-69     5
DET        77-69     5.5

Tonight's game

Orioles at Mariners. 10:10 p.m.


LHP Wei-Yin Chen (12-9, 4.00 ERA) vs. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 3.49 ERA)

Key matchup


Chen pitched against the Mariners once this season -- and you may remember that in that game he flirted with a no-hitter. It will be key for Seattle to get something off Chen early tonight, just to avoid falling into a similar situation as last night's laugher.

Of the two hits Seattle got off Chen in that July 3 game at Safeco, one was a homer by Casper Wells, but the Towson product has been out with a neck injury in recent days.

Other games that matter

Athletics (Griffin) at Tigers (Scherzer), 7:05 p.m.

Blue Jays (Romero) at Yankees (Pettitte), 7:05 p.m.

Red Sox (Doubront) at Rays (Hellickson), 7:10 p.m.

White Sox (Floyd) at Royals (Hochevar), 8:10 p.m.

Rangers (Dempster) at Angels (Weaver), 10:05 p.m.


Thought of the day

After they lost to the Red Sox last night, it's fair to ask: Are the Rays done?

It was just eight days ago, in this space, that we discussed the Rays having a 60.8 percent chance of making the postseason.

Well, now that number is down to 8.1 percent. That's right, based on the standing heading into tonight, Tampa will rally to make the playoffs just 8 out of 100 times, while the Orioles have an 80.1 percent chance of making it.

"I don't think by any means that we're in a good spot," third baseman Evan Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times.

Based on how last year ended -- when the Rays were all but buried before one of the craziest sequences in baseball history unfolded -- it's still too early to say they're out of it.


But you have to think there's now a strong chance that in those final three games of this season, when the Orioles head to Tampa, the Rays might only be playing a spoiler role.

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If that were to be the case, I wonder if Buck Showalter might return that bottle of wine Joe Maddon left for him with the message "Take it easy on us."

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Is Andy Pettitte here to rescue the Yankees?

Rays' Fuld and Longoria slowed by injuries

Jonny Gomes becomes heart and soul of A's


Angels GM Dipoto stands behind Mike Scioscia

Poll question