Orioles off-night scoreboard watching thread: guaranteed to gain wild card ground

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

It's an off night for the Orioles, but their wild card competitors will be in action on Monday.

For one night only, the Orioles are guaranteed to gain ground in the wild card race no matter what happens. The O's have the night off and the two teams who are currently tied for the two wild card spots are playing one another. Whatever happens in that game, they will find themselves two games out of the second wild card spot.

Here are the games of interest on this off-night:

Rangers @ Rays, 7:10
Matt Garza (3-4, 4.46 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.06 ERA)

Both of these teams are below .500 over their last ten games. The reeling Rangers have lost nine out of ten and are currently on a six-game losing streak that has included two 1-0 losses. All six losses were at home and now they head to the catwalked confines of the Trop.

Garza has a 3.44 ERA on the road this season. Cobb has nearly-identical home/road splits, with a 3.09 home ERA.

Indians @ Royals, 8:10
Scott Kazmir (8-8, 4.24 ERA) vs. James Shields (11-9, 3.38 ERA)

Cleveland's cupcake schedule to close out the season features its last over-.500 test in the Royals. With a win tonight, they would be tied with the loser of the Texas-Tampa Bay game for the second wild card spot. With a loss, they will have had their competitors behind them creep closer as they stay a half-game back.

It's weird seeing Kazmir and Shields pitch against one another in a crucial game that doesn't directly involve the Rays.

Kazmir has a 4.23 ERA on the road. Shields is pitching to a 4.94 ERA at home. Yikes. His 207.2 innings pitched lead the American League.

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