The Baltimore Orioles have now won eight out of their last eleven games to move within three games of the New York Yankees for the division lead, clinching a series win against the Chicago White Sox on August 30 by the score of 5-3. Zach Britton picked up his fourth win of the year for the Orioles, while Jim Johnson converted for his 41st save of the season.
The Baltimore Orioles needed to keep up the momentum after taking two out of the first three games in the four game set against the White Sox, and Zach Britton helped them do just that, throwing eight solid innings while giving up only one run on seven hits to go along with ten strikeouts on the day. Britton looked fantastic right from the start of the game, and has really gotten into a zone since mid-August, giving up a total of three runs over his past three starts. Britton is finally starting to turn around into the pitcher the Orioles had hoped that he could become, and it couldn't have come at a better time for the team.
With Matt Wieters sitting out for the last game of the series against the Chicago White Sox, in stepped Taylor Teagarden, who had a .086 average and looked to be a questionable move for Buck Showalter considering where the team is in the standings. However, like many of the other moves Showalter has made of late this one turned out to be the right call, as Teagarden went 2 for 3 in the game with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. With the middle of the lineup struggling for the most part in the game, someone needed to step it up and provide the offense to get past the White Sox, and it just so happened to be a backup catcher with a .086 average. You just can't make this stuff up, and it is amazing to see how the Orioles have been able to stay in the playoff picture this long.
The Baltimore Orioles will now face an important three game series against the New York Yankees starting on August 31, with Miguel Gonzalez taking the mound against Hiroki Kuroda. Gonzalez was roughed up his last start against the Texas Rangers, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back against another great hitting team in the Yankees. Kuroda has arguably been New York's best starting pitcher this year, with his 12-9 record masking a fantastic 2.98 ERA. He is coming off of a loss as well against the Cleveland Indians in which he went eight innings and gave up three runs, so both pitchers will have something to prove in this upcoming game. Adam Jones will be the crucial player to watch in my view, as he has only two hits over his past four games and really needs to provide a spark in the middle of the lineup.
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.