In the NFL, they might call them trap games. After a day off, the Orioles play three games with the Tampa Bay Rays.So much attention was focused on the four-game series with the New York Yankees that the Rays were momentarily forgotten.They shouldnt be.Tampa Bay trails the Orioles by a game in the AL East and the Yankees by two. Oakland and Baltimore have the temporary advantage in the wild card race.The Rays and Orioles have split 12 games, and have six remaining, three this week and the final three of the regular season at Tropicana Field.The Orioles have 22 games remaining. Besides the six with Tampa Bay, there are six with last place Boston, four with Toronto and three each at Oakland and Seattle.After the three games with the Rays, the Orioles play at the Athletics. Before the Orioles arrive, Oakland plays an important three-game series with the Angels, who are on the fringe of the wild card race.Now, weve got to worry about Tampa, Adam Jones said.On July 16, both the Orioles and Rays had 46-44 records. Since then, the Orioles are 32-18 and the Rays 31-19.Theyre coming in hot, so move on. Like every other spot, everybodys getting better. Theres been juggernauts and big dogs an now everybodys getting better as a team, Jones said.You just cant guarantee the Yankees are going to get this. You cant just guarantee Anaheim or Texas is this because every other team is that much more competitive and a lot better. Like this year, to win the East, usually its 98 wins or something like that. Now, its going to be low 90s to get this division.If the Orioles can split their final 22 games, theyll end up with 89 wins. That probably wont be good enough to win the East, but could get them a wild card. A 12-10 record would give them 91 wins. That certainly should be enough for the wild card, and if Jones is right, the division.The Orioles and Yankees split 18 games, but now theyll have to win on their own and hope New York continues to sputter.On July 16, the Yankees were 10 games ahead of Baltimore and Tampa Bay. Theyre 24-27 since then.The Orioles arent scheduled to see either James Shields or David Price. Matt Moore (10-9, 3.66) and Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.46) are Tuesdays pitchers. Alex Cobb (9-8, 4.28) and Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.62) pitch Wednesday. On Thursday afternoon at 12:35 p.m., the Rays have scheduled Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.33). The Orioles will probably pitch Wei-Yin Chen (12-9, 4.06). You can make a case theyre as good as any pitching staff in baseball. Runs are going to be at a premium, and our pitching staff is going to have to match some given good outings that theyre going to throw at you, manager Buck Showalter said. Good club. Theres a reason. We look at it as a given that theyre going to be in it through thick and thinThey do a lot of good things other than pitch. Sometimes, it gets lost in the shuffle.The hardest challenge over the final 22 games is playing without Nick Markakis. When he missed 35 games after his broken hamate bone, the Orioles went 16-19. After the broken left thumb, theyre 0-1. Theyll have to do better.For now, Nate McLouth will probably bat leadoff while Lew Ford and Chris Davis play right field. Wilson Betemit will play more than he had been.While there had been talk that the Orioles would seek outside help in the outfield, theyre very restricted in what they can offer. If someone is brought in, they would be ineligible to help for the postseason. Theyd have to take someone who could be a player for next season.Endy Chavez will return on Tuesday. When the Orioles designated him for assignment last month, he wasnt claimed on waivers. Showalter said that when he agreed to report to Norfolk, Chavez would be a September call-up at worst.Chavezs performance at Norfolk didnt warrant that recall. He batted .149 in 15 games. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette asked Chavez not to leave the U.S. for his native Dominican Republic for a while in case there was a need for him.There was, and the Orioles called Chavez in New York on Sunday morning, and told him to report to Baltimore on Tuesday.Chavez was a disappointment, battling age and injuries. He batted just .190 in 47 games.With Davis, McLouth and Ford flanking Jones in the outfield, the Orioles wanted a more experienced player than Xavier Avery, who had an at-bat in Sundays blowout, his first action since his recall.
ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.
The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.
Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.
The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.
Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.
With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.
Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."
Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."
Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."
Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.
Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.
The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.
The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.
Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.
Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.
Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.
Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.
Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.
Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.
Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.
Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings
The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.
The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.
Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.
For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.
As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:
- Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
- Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
- MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)
One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:
American League All-Star Roster Projection:
C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)
SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)
RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)
Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros
Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.
Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.
Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.
MORE ALL-STAR NEWS: