Avoiding a 100-loss season is hardly an accomplishment. Considering where the Baltimore Orioles have come from, it would be something to salvage from a dismal year.
The Orioles will try to continue their late-season resurgence with their sixth win in seven games Saturday night against the Detroit Tigers.
With a 32-73 record and the franchise’s first 100-loss season since 1988 a near certainty, Baltimore (54-87) hired Buck Showalter as its new manager Aug. 2. While some improvement was expected, few could’ve predicted the level of success the Orioles have had the past month.
A 6-3 victory in Friday night’s series opener improved the Orioles to 22-14 under Showalter. Jake Fox(notes) hit a two-run homer in a rare start and Matt Wieters’(notes) sacrifice fly snapped an eighth-inning tie, helping Baltimore win for the sixth time in seven road games.
Fox is 12 for 24 with three homers and eight RBIs lifetime at Comerica Park.
“I don’t know what it is about this place, but I’ve always seen the ball well here,” Fox said.
The Orioles need to win nine of their final 20 games to avoid 100 losses.
Kevin Millwood(notes) provided Baltimore with another strong outing from a starting pitcher Friday. Orioles starters are 16-11 with a 3.21 ERA under Showalter, turning in quality starts 25 times in 36 games.
Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (9-13, 3.89 ERA) hopes to continue that trend as he tries to reach double digits in wins for the third straight season. The right-hander is 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, pitching at least seven innings in all but three of those outings.
He limited Tampa Bay to two runs and six hits over seven innings while striking out a season-high seven Saturday in an 8-4 victory.
Guthrie has been especially effective on the road lately, going 2-2 with a 1.93 ERA in his past four starts away from Camden Yards.
The Tigers slugger ranks second in the AL in batting average (.335) and homers (34) and leads the majors in RBIs (113). Cabrera is 9 for 17 (.529) with two home runs and seven RBIs this season against the Orioles but is 1 for 7 lifetime against Guthrie.
Showalter intentionally walked Cabrera in the seventh with a runner at third.
“We were trying to pitch around him, and he still had three RBIs,” Showalter said. “And it isn’t like he was just having a hot night - he’s done that against everyone he’s faced.”
Getting the ball for Detroit will be Max Scherzer(notes) (10-9, 3.51), who is 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his past eight starts. Those numbers were even better before Monday, when he allowed four runs - his most since July - and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings in the Tigers’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the White Sox.
Scherzer is 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 13 home starts and has lasted seven innings or more in eight consecutive outings there.
He was excellent in his only appearance against the Orioles on July 7, yielding one run and six hits over seven innings in a 4-2 victory.