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Around the AL East, Week 20: Orioles fall further out of the race

The rotation falters again as the Orioles lose two home series. The Birds now sit behind six teams fighting for the second wild card spot.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles

After a brief resurgence, the Orioles starting rotation returned to bad form on their current home stand as the Birds lost four of six games. Jeremy Hellickson continued to prove why people questioned the trade that brought him to Baltimore last month.

Hellickson has pitched to an ERA of 9.19 in his last three starts. The five home runs he allowed in Friday's series opener against the Angels were particularly alarming.

The following day Kevin Gausman did his best Hellickson imitation by serving up four long-balls in the 5-1 loss. Gausman lasted just four innings giving up five earned runs, four walks and six hits.

Chris Tillman’s season of misery got even worse yesterday when he made his first start since August 3 and struggled with his control yet again. His six walks helped lead to four earned runs in just 5.1 innings raising his ERA to an unsightly 7.75.

The Orioles are now four games back of the wild card with half a dozen teams ahead of them vying for the same spot.

Last week: 2-4 (1-2 at Mariners; 1-2 vs. Angels)

Week ahead: 3 games vs. Athletics; 3 games at Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox decision to fill their third base void by giving the job to 20-year-old prospect Rafael Devers is paying off more than they could have imagined. His eight homers and a .350/.416/.700 batting line in his 21 big-league games have helped the Sox go 16-5 in that stretch and solidify their place atop the AL East.

Last week: 4-2 (0-1 vs. Indians; 2-0 vs. Cardinals; 2-1 vs. Yankees)

Week ahead: 4 games at Indians; 3 games vs. Orioles

New York Yankees

The Yankees swept their cross-town rival Mets in a four-game Subway Series ahead of an important trip to Fenway Park over the weekend. But they lost the rubber game of the Boston series yesterday, 5-1, when they mustered just three hits off of last year’s Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

Starting pitchers C.C. Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka have returned from their injuries to reinforce a shaky Yankee rotation. Sabathia helped the Yankees defeat Boston, 4-3, by allowing just four hits and two runs in six innings. Tanaka is scheduled to come off the DL to start Tuesday against the Tigers.

Last week: 5-2 (2-0 vs. Mets; 2-0 at Mets 1-2 at Red Sox)

Week ahead: 3 games at Tigers; 3 games vs. Mariners

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have lost 12 of their last 16 games while scoring just 33 runs, dropping them to just one game out of last place in the AL East. After being shutout five times in the last two weeks, the Rays turned the tables yesterday blanking the Mariners 3-0 behind a long-awaited pitching gem by Blake Snell.

Their offense received a boost when Kevin Kiermaier returned last week from an extended stint on the DL with a fractured hip. The centerfielder continued his solid homecoming by smacking a home run in yesterday’s win and is now 5-for-12 in the three games he’s played.

Last week: 2-5 (1-3 at Blue Jays; 1-2 vs. Mariners)

Week ahead: 3 games vs. Blue Jays; 3 games at Cardinals

Toronto Blue Jays

Just when it looks like the Blue Jays might finally put enough wins together to get out of the AL East basement, they collapse in some unique way.

This past weekend the Jays were swept in Chicago by the Cubs and featured Roberto Osuna’s blowing his eighth save of the year in yesterday’s extra-inning game. This was a particularly tough one for the Jays’ closer as two runners reached base on strikeouts that weren’t caught.

Last week: 3-4 (3-1 vs. Rays; 0-3 at Cubs)

Week ahead: 3 games at Rays; 3 games vs. Twins