Against most or all expectations before this series began, the Orioles come into Sunday's game against the Red Sox with a chance to pull off a sweep. Turns out that it's not very hard to win games when you pitch well and hit even better. But it's always hard to get a sweep on the road, especially a sweep against the division leader. The Orioles do not have a 26-39 road record by accident.
If the Orioles lose the finale and don't get the sweep, it still wouldn't be a bad series for them. If they win two out of three the rest of the way, they will get somewhere good.
The problem for the O's is that "not bad" isn't good enough to get them anywhere now. They need to do even better than that. They're probably not going to win every three-game series for the remainder of the season, because that is a hard thing to do. They need to steal some wins here and there in unexpected places - like, say, a series finale where they're going for the sweep, with Wade Miley on the mound.
The O's enter the day two games out of the second wild card spot which means that there's a chance, if the results fall the right way, that they could end the day just one game out of that spot. Win and they will probably gain on at least one of the teams ahead of them. Lose and they will probably lose ground to more than one.
That's how it's going to be every day for the rest of the season for the O's, until they lose enough games that it doesn't matter any more. They can probably afford, at the very most, 14 more losses, and even that may be too many. Hopefully, one way or another, they don't use one up today.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Tim Beckham - SS||Eduardo Nunez - 2B|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Andrew Benintendi - LF|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Hanley Ramirez - 1B|
|Trey Mancini - LF||Chris Young - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Xander Bogaerts - SS|
|Mark Trumbo - DH||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Welington Castillo - C||Rafael Devers - 3B|
|Seth Smith - RF||Sandy Leon - C|
|Wade Miley - LHP||Doug Fister - RHP|