Rob Long: Brand New Start
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The Baltimore Orioles ran into a team in the Tampa Bay Rays that did not pack it in just because they were eliminated from play-off contention. The O’s went into Tampa and lost two out of three to force them into a road game against the Texas Rangers in the Wild-Card.
Fans in Baltimore would love to have that game in the Charm City but they will have to hope for a Divisional Series. The Rangers, who once held a 13-game lead over the Oakland A’s, are backing their way into the post-season. Yes, they are still a dangerous team, but the are not the team that they were before the All-Star break.
The Birds clinched their first trip to the post-season in 15 years but that doesn’t seem to be enough for the players. They are eyeing an opportunity to play in front of the home crowd for at least two more games. They’ll have to beat Yu Darvish, who’s 5-2 with a 3.26 era over his last 10 starts. The O’s, at the moment, are undecided on their starter for Friday.
Texas was 5-2 and dominated the O’s in seven games this year. Josh Hamilton had a four homerun game at Camden Yards but the slugger has only one homerun, 5 runs batted in and 18 strike outs over the last 10 games.
The Orioles, on the other hand, are hoping team MVP Adam Jones will get heated up again. He’s been struggling with only three extra-base hits including one homer and three runs batted in while watching his batting average fall five points in 10 games. During that time, Chris Davis captured the team lead over Jones with 33 homerun and 85 rbi on the season.