Orioles down the stretch (Sept. 12)

[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

Orioles bullpen falters again in 5-4 loss to Yankees
Norris scratched from Friday's start in Toronto
Morse isn't stressing about slow start at Camden Yards
Markakis rejoins team after birth of his third son
Schmuck: Indians have an easier road to the wild card
Curtis Granderson makes some Eutaw Street history
Wednesday's full scoreboard


AL East standings

BOS     89-58     --
TB       78-66    9.5
BAL     78-68    10.5
NYY     77-68     11

AL wild-card standings

TEX       81-64     --
TB        78-66        --
NYY      78-68      1
BAL      77-68     1.5
CLE      77-68     1.5
KC       77-69      2

(For full standings, click here.)


Tonight's game

Yankees at Orioles, 7:05 p.m.

LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.82 ERA) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.11 ERA)

(NOTE: Lefty David Huff had been listed as the Yankees' probable starter until after Wednesday night's game, when manager Joe Girardi said Hughes will start.)

Key matchup

Robinson Cano had a big homer last night against right-hander Tommy Hunter. He can still be dangerous against lefties, but he hasn't fared well against Chen. In 16 at-bats against Chen over the past two seasons, the Yankees second baseman has batted just .188 with one homer, one RBI and six strikeouts.

Other games that matter

Athletics (Griffin) at Twins (Diamond), 1:10 p.m.

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

Indians (Kluber) at White Sox (Danks), 8:10 p.m.

Thought of the day

Nobody is going to suggest that the Orioles would ever have any hint of regret about trading Koji Uehara for Chris Davis and Hunter two summers ago. Let's not be silly here.

But the way Uehara has pitched this season makes you wonder if he could have solved a lot of the Orioles' current bullpen issues.

Remember, Uehara was a free agent this offseason, and the Orioles offered him a one-year deal. (He signed with Boston for one year and $4.25 million during the winter meetings.)

Uehara has been a godsend for the Red Sox, who lost closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey to season-ending injuries.

Uehara has retired 34 consecutive hitters, a Boston record. Opponents are 6 of their past 94 against the Japanese right-hander, and he has hasn't allowed a runner to reach base since Aug. 17. (Hat tip to Boston Globe reporter Pete Abraham on those stats.)

For the season, Uehara has 19 saves, a 1.08 ERA and a ridiculous 0.57 WHIP. Oh, and we should also mention he can be pretty fun to watch.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Derek Jeter is done for the year but vows a 2014 return

RISP has been a four-letter word for the Rays, too

Indians reliever Blake Wood hitting 100 mph after Tommy John surgery

What happened to the Royals' Luke Hochevar?

Expect suspended outfielder Nelson Cruz to be on Rangers' playoff roster

And this one has little to do with the actual pennant chase, but a Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly assaulting the Rays' mascot Raymond.


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