Maybe that second wild card spot isn’t as out of the question for the Baltimore Orioles as a lot of people, myself included, think. Their 4-run rally last night beat the Tampa Bay Rays and kept hope alive, at least mathematically.
The Orioles are 4 1/2 games behind Houston for that … honor. Or one could say they have four teams ahead of them – the Indians, Angels, Twins and Astros – whichever deficit sounds easier to surmount. Last night, they used an excuse-me, 2-run single by Adam Jones to take the lead and went on to beat the Rays, a possible microcosm of the recent past and preview of the last two weeks of September, if the team ekes its way into the wild card playoff.
I wonder if it bothered anyone that during Wednesday’s disastrous, 10-1 loss to the Red Sox, Jones looped an underhand throw back to the cutoff man while a run scored. It’s highly unlikely he would have done that unless his shoulder were giving him fits.
Turning back to last night, Chris Tillman came through with a surprisingly clean performance until unsurprisingly running into turbulence in a quirky 5th inning. He has been as up and down as Wall Street, or to use an analogy that will work just as well, try the curious case of Tyler Wilson, tonight’s starter.
As reported by masnsports.com, Wilson was recalled May 18 and optioned May 23, then recalled May 28th as the 26th man for a doubleheader and optioned later that night. He was recalled June 14 and optioned June 20. He was recalled July 1 and optioned the next day. He was recalled Aug. 3 and optioned the next day. Righties are hitting .203 against him, lefties .298.
Mike Wright gets until Monday to recover from his disaster Wednesday night, and he has been mostly on the downslope for several starts in a row. Putting kids in the rotation at this stage of the game might be an indication of having confidence in them, if Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette still hold out a belief that Wright can correct his ways. Or it might be an audition for next year, as September call-ups tend to be when the team has, for most intents and purposes, faded from the playoff picture.
Offensively, Chris Davis hasn’t faded from anything. Not even the strikeout race. He struck out once last night and leads the Majors with 193. Details, details. He is also hitting .261, leads the Orioles with 71 walks, shares the Major League home run lead with 42, and is third in the Majors with 107 RBI. He’s done, as I have mentioned before, what was hoped of him this season.
Now to pay him in the offseason. But first things first, making the playoffs would fortify his argument all the more.