In a recent game, Kevin Gausman faced his old high school teammate, Greg Bird. Today he will also face an old teammate, this time from his days at LSU. That would be Mikie Mahtook, the guy who had five hits on Friday night, and whom fate just would not let steal second base successfully yesterday.
If the Orioles manage to win this game, and with it a four-game road series, they will be a mere one game below .500. That's not going to be close enough to make it really worth getting excited about any distant wild card dreams, but it will leave them tantalizingly close to making it up over .500, or at least to .500, for a potential fourth consecutive non-losing season.
That's really all one can reasonably root for at this point in time. The Orioles don't have to pass four teams to do this. They just have to win games, and not at an unbelievable clip, either. Finishing the final 14 games with an 8-6 record or better is just one two week hot streak - though they've had scant few of those this season, especially when facing winning teams, which they'll be doing in 10 of the 14 remaining games, and it hasn't been happening much on the road either, where the O's must now play half of their remaining games.
If Gausman can pitch as well as Wei-Yin Chen did yesterday, you've got to like the O's chances today. That's probably not going to happen, though, which means the O's will need to do better against Jake Odorizzi than their offense did against Erasmo Ramirez yesterday. Hopefully they can at least make a nice game of it and not have everyone scrambling to watch football instead by the third inning.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Gerardo Parra - RF||John Jaso - DH|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Grady Sizemore - LF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Logan Forsythe - 2B|
|Steve Clevenger - DH||James Loney - 1B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Mikie Mahtook - RF|
|Steve Pearce - LF||Kevin Kiermaier - CF|
|Caleb Joseph - C||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Paul Janish - SS||Tim Beckham - SS|
|Kevin Gausman - RHP||Jake Odorizzi - RHP|