Coming off of a disappointing start to their series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles were able to turn things around on August 4, defeating the Rays by the score of 4-0. Wei-Yin Chen picked up his tenth win of the year, while Jeremy Hellickson had his seventh loss.
Even though he couldn't match the 12 strikeout performance in his previous start, Wei-Yin Chen was able to go deeper into the game against Tampa Bay, going seven innings strong while giving up no runs on five hits to go along with four strikeouts as well. He had great command of his pitches early on in the game, and as a result was able to keep the Rays hitters guessing all night. Chen has arguably been the best pitcher in the starting rotation for the Orioles this year (one could make a case for Jason Hammel as well), and is starting to heat up right when Baltimore needs him the most. The team is still in the thick of things when it comes to a potential playoff berth, but with Hammel still down the starting rotation will need to step it up, and Wei-Yin has done exactly that over the past couple of weeks.
Another key component to the Orioles possibly contending for a Wild Card spot this year is the middle of the lineup, in the form of Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Matt Weiters. Only Jones has stayed consistent throughout the season with his hitting, but Davis certainly looks to be coming around of late. Chris went 2 for 5 in the game against the Rays with two crucial RBIs, and he now has a nine game hitting streak that includes four multi-hit games. He has really been a catalyst for the team this year, in that whenever he has been hot the Orioles put a good stretch of games together, and vice versa. Now that he is consistently getting hits hopefully Baltimore can put some wins together as a result.
The Baltimore Orioles will look to take the rubber match of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 5 as Miguel Gonzalez takes the mound against David Price. Gonzalez got off to a good start when he was moved into the starting rotation, but since then has not fared so well, giving up a total of 13 runs over his past three starts. It won't be any easier for Baltimore's offense either, as Price shut them out in his last start and has been pitching fantastic of late. I think the key to the Orioles winning this game will be to continue the clutch hitting from the previous game. If they can consistently move runners that are in scoring position I like their chances to take the series.
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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