The Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians are still within striking distance of the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, who are currently in a three-way tie for the two American League wild card berths.
On Tuesday in Cleveland they’ll face off in the second game of a three-game series, with Baltimore seeking to continue the Indians’ recent woes by beating them for the second consecutive night after a 7-2 victory on Monday.
Cleveland just can’t score as of late, which is why it has lost six of its last seven games, averaging just 2.3 runs during the slide. And things won’t get any easier against an Orioles offense that includes first baseman Chris Davis (MLB-best 47 home runs to go with 122 RBI and a .298 batting average), third baseman Manny Machado (.297 average, 12 homers and 65 RBI) and center fielder Adam Jones (.293 average, 28 homers and 98 RBI).
The Orioles haven’t exactly been red-hot, but they have been putting up a lot of runs, including back-to-back seven-run efforts in Sunday’s 7-3 win over the New York Yankees and the aforementioned win on Monday. As a result, it could come down to starting pitching, which likely favors Baltimore as well.
With the dominance of Detroit Tigers starter Max Scherzer and Rangers starter Yu Darvish, Orioles hurler Chris Tillman really hasn’t gotten the respect that he deserves, despite the fact that he has gone 15-4 with a 3.61 ERA this season. In addition, he has won five of his last six decisions.
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez has been pretty solid himself, posting a 9-9 record to go with a 3.95 ERA. But given that Cleveland’s offense has been atrocious recently, the edge has to go to Tillman and the O’s.