Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. That's the way it's gone with the Orioles this season. They never topple out of the picture, but they never get themselves entirely back in the picture either. Thanks to a disastrous trip out west by the Rays, they sit a mere two games back. If all goes right today they'll only be a game back. Can they keep taking care of business against the White Sox?
Chicago is a lifeless team that is particularly terrible on the road, having accumulated a 24-50 record to date. Ouch. They've lost eight straight, which could be ten straight if the O's pull off a sweep. A four-game winning streak to make a sweep? Stranger things have happened. Buck Showalter still believes the team has a long winning streak in them, after all.
One reason they haven't been able to pile up a long winning streak has been the starting pitching not being consistently good. It'd be pretty tough for Wei-Yin Chen to top Friday's complete game by Scott Feldman, but a strong outing would be just fine.
Chen was on the disabled list for the last White Sox series, so he has not seen them yet this year. Chicago is bad against left-handed pitching, to the tune of a 12-22 record, but they're bad against everyone, which is what makes a sweep in this series so imperative. Anyone matches up well against Chicago, if they pitch well.
The White Sox starter is Hector Santiago, who gave up only two runs in seven innings his last time against the O's in July. The O's won that game thanks to beating up on the bullpen. He is left-handed too, although with an average fastball velocity of 92 miles per hour, he's not exactly soft-tossing. Walks have been a problem for him, which won't hurt him against the O's, but so have home runs, and that will hurt. Or at least it should. Before Danny Valencia's RBI single last night, the O's had scored 15 straight runs via the home run.
18-4 gets them to 93 wins. 15-7 gets them to 90. Does 90 get them to the playoffs? They'd better make it 22-0 just to be safe. Get started on that today, guys.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||CHICAGO WHITE SOX|
|Brian Roberts (S) - 2B||Leury Garcia (S) - CF|
|Manny Machado (R) - 3B||Gordon Beckham (R) - 2B|
|Adam Jones (R) - CF||Alexei Ramirez (R) - SS|
|Chris Davis (L) - 1B||Paul Konerko (R) - DH|
|J.J. Hardy (R) - SS||Avisail Garcia (R) - RF|
|Danny Valencia (R) - DH||Jeff Keppinger (R) - 1B|
|Nick Markakis (L) - RF||Dayan Viciedo (R) - LF|
|Michael Morse (R) - LF||Josh Phegley (R) - C|
|Chris Snyder (R) - C||Marcus Semien (R) - 3B|