The Baltimore Orioles have already clinched a playoff berth but they’ve still got plenty to play for in the final three games of the regular season. They’re currently tied with the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East, which means that one team will qualify as the winner of the division and one will earn a postseason spot via the wild card. When it comes to home-field advantage, the Orioles would surely rather have the division title in hand.
To accomplish that, they’ll have to take care of business on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in their regular season ending series against the Tampa Bay Rays. For much of the year, they were battling with the Rays for a postseason spot and now they’ll have to down them one more time to put themselves in the best position possible.
Pundits, fans and MLB odds makers have watched the Orioles heat up over the last week as they swept the Boston Red Sox. They’ve now won four straight and 11 of their last 14.
They’ll send Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman to the mound for the series to counter the Rays three starters, Alex Cobb, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
The O’s three starters are a combined 2-3 against the Rays this season and have allowed 21 earned runs in 48.1 innings pitched (3.92 ERA). Overall, the Rays have won six of the last seven meetings with Tampa Bay.
The Rays have not been eliminated from the playoffs just yet but they need a miracle. They need to win each of the three games in this series and hope that Oakland loses all three of their contests as well. With both teams having something on the line, this series should still be competitive even both teams appear to be heading in different directions once the playoffs begin.