The Birds return to Baltimore following a split series with Cleveland as their final homestand offers them a chance to win 100 games for the first time since 1980.
Baltimore hosts Washington with magic number and wins to 100 both at three
The O's need only three results, whether they be a Baltimore win or a Tampa Bay loss, to clinch the American League East and secure the top playoff seed. Birdland also sits three victories away from a historic 100-win season.
The latter is unachievable during the short two-game Beltway Series, but a sweep and Tampa Bay defeat could bring the first to OPACY and allow the squad to rest key starters during the Boston series.
Game 1: Kyle Bradish vs. TBA
Orioles' burgeoning ace Kyle Bradish starts things off Tuesday night at 6:35 PM EST. The Nats have yet to announce their starter as of Sunday night. Bradish has an impressive 3.01 ERA and an 11-7 record so far this campaign. Both ballclubs have some players on the IL: southpaws MacKenzie Gore and Jake Irvin are on the 15-day list, while the O's are still missing Felix Bautista and Ryan Mountcastle.
Bradish's 1.07 WHIP and one K per inning should be enough to better the Birds' local rivals. Washington comes in with a 69-87 record. Long-eliminated from playoff contention, there is little for the DC outfit to play for. Still, rivalry games bring bragging rights to the table, and Brandon Hyde will be asking for the most out of his team following their day off on Monday.
Game 2: Grayson Rodriguez vs. Josiah Gray
Rodriguez with a 6-4 record faces off against the right-handed pitcher Gray. The Oriole youngster has a 4.49 ERA compared to his counterpart's 4.00. Recently, however, Rodriguez has been pitching much better in his return compared to when he began this season. The Birds' bullpen could play a key role in this game as their rested players would be ready to pitch long-relief should the youngster falter.
Wednesday's matchup is also a 6:35 PM EST affair. The Nats also come into the series following an off day on Monday. Their campaign, though, has seen far more poor performances. Team ERA, batting average and fielding percentage are all far better in Baltimore's columns. Two wins for Hyde and the boys are no guarantee, but Washington is far from their best.
What clinching the AL East this series would mean to the O's
The Rays will need to lose a game for the Birds' to have a chance of guaranteeing the top seed in the AL. If that happens, plenty of rest for the star players is in the future. Saturday's game against Boston is already sold out and the festivities would be even better if there was nothing to worry about. A rested bullpen, pitchers staff and group of outfield players could lead to plenty of festivities in October as well.