The Baltimore Orioles have now won seven out of their last nine games, with their most recent win coming on August 12 against the Kansas City Royals by the score of 5-3. Luis Ayala picked up his fourth win of the year in relief, while Josh Johnson converted for his 34th save.
While much has been talked about of late regarding the resurgence of the team's offense, the starting rotation has been on the rebound as well for the Orioles, giving them an outside chance for a wild card spot right now. Hunter has played a key role in this, and pitched another solid game for Baltimore by going five innings and giving up three runs on eight hits to go along with two strikeouts as well. Not a dominant performance by any means, but it kept the team in the ball game and allowed the offense to chip away and eventually overtake the Royals to split their four game series. The performances of the back end of the rotation will be key going into the month of September in my opinion. If they can put up five or six innings while giving up three runs or less for a stretch of time I like the team's chances to stay in the hunt for a potential playoff spot. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, though, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding Manny Machado over the past couple of years, but as we all know there is a difference between potential and reality, as exemplified by Matt Weiters to this point. However, since coming up to play with the Orioles Machado has been on fire, and continued his streak on August 12 with a two run home run in the second inning after it was initially called a double. In only four games to this point Machado has six hits, three home runs, seven RBIs, and a nifty .375 average as well. Granted, it is only four games, but it has to give Orioles fans a great hope for the future and that the team may finally be starting to turn around for the better.
The Baltimore Orioles will look to make it eight wins in ten games as they begin a three game series against the Boston Red Sox on August 14, with Wei-Yin Chen taking the mound against Josh Beckett. Chen had an off-day against the Royals in his last start after going two straight starts without giving up a run, and I would expect for him to rebound against the Red Sox. Beckett had a similar outing against the Texas Rangers in his last start as well, but has been wildly inconsistent for much of the year and I think the Orioles' offense should be able to put up a few runs on the board.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.
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