After splitting a four game series against the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles needed to keep up their momentum against a streaking Tampa Bay Rays team that had won six out of their past eight games. The Orioles were able to go above and beyond in the three game series, sweeping the Rays on September 13 by the score of 3-2 to claim their first non-losing season in fifteen years. Randy Wolf picked up his second win of the year in relief for Baltimore, while Chris Archer had his third loss.
Chen had been pitching great for much of the year, but was coming off of two mediocre starts against the Yankees and seemed to be tiring out after throwing well over 160 innings. However, Chen showed that he still has something left in the tank against the Rays, going nearly eight innings and giving up two runs on eight hits to go along with seven strikeouts as well. His command looked great throughout the entire game, throwing 24 first pitch strikes to a total of 30 batters, and it was something that Buck Showalter and the Orioles really needed to keep pace with the Yankees in the division.
Manny Machado was the player of the game for the Orioles on September 13, getting the game-winning hit in the fourteenth inning to complete the sweep. What makes the Orioles so unique is that every game it seems as though someone unexpected comes up with a big hit or pitching performance, and it has happened for practically the entire season. Even though Machado had the winning hit, it was backup catcher Taylor Teagarden (with a .119 average on the year) who hit a two run double in the seventh inning to put the Orioles ahead. You simply can't make these things up, and that is why it seems to me like the Orioles will stay in the race until the last game.
The Baltimore Orioles will start another crucial series on September 14 against the Oakland Athletics as Joe Saunders takes the mound against Tommy Milone. Saunders got off to a rough start with the team against the Chicago White Sox, but since then has pitched solidly with only two total runs given up over his past two starts. Milone has been a bit inconsistent of late as well, going on three innings in a start against the Angels on September 3, so I think the Orioles have a good chance to start the series on a high note with a win.
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.