(AP) — Many of Baltimore’s top sluggers are doing their best to try to push the Orioles to their third playoff trip in four years.
That effort may be all for naught if the starting rotation doesn’t become more consistent.READ MORE: Protests Continued In Maryland Saturday Over A SCOTUS Decision To Overturn Roe V. Wade
The Orioles hope Kevin Gausman can help get the staff on track Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.
Baltimore (57-55) lost 6-5 in 10 innings Tuesday, missing a chance to gain ground on the Los Angeles Angels, who own a two-game lead over the Orioles for the second AL wild-card spot, but also lost.
The Orioles have 20 homers and 22 doubles over their last 12 games, with Chris Davis batting .364 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs. Jonathan Schoop is batting .364 in that span, while Manny Machado is at .358. Despite hitting .235, Adam Jones has 11 RBIs.
Davis and Jones hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to rally the Orioles and help overcome a poor start by Chris Tillman, who gave up five runs in 2 1-3 innings.
Baltimore’s rotation owns a 6.02 ERA during this 6-6 stretch, and its starters have lasted 4 2-3 innings or fewer five times.
The Orioles could be without another hot bat in Matt Wieters after he left in the third inning with a strained hamstring and was replaced by Caleb Joseph. Wieters, who missed 181 games from 2014-15 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was hitting .383 in his last 13 after going 1 for 2 Tuesday. Joseph is batting .333 over his last 14.
Manager Buck Showalter is taking a cautious approach with his catcher and likely will rest him for this game ahead of an off day Thursday.READ MORE: Man Found Dead Near His Walker On Anne Arundel County Roadway Saturday, Police Say
“It tightened up a bit, then it got worse as the game went on,” Wieters told MLB’s official website. “I think we caught it before anything would be serious.”
Gausman (2-3, 4.56 ERA) might need lots of help from Baltimore’s bats if his road struggles continue. He’s 0-3 with an 8.41 ERA in four games and had another tough outing Friday against the Angels, surrendering six runs and a career high-matching nine hits over 6 2-3 innings in an 8-4 defeat.
But for all of his problems away from home this year, he fared well in his only previous start at Seattle, giving up one run over 6 2-3 innings in a 2-1, 10-inning victory July 25, 2014.
Robinson Cano, who is hitting .364 in his last eight games, is 4 for 6 against Gausman.
Nelson Cruz exited in the seventh inning due to neck spasms, but not before extending his hitting streak to a major league season high-matching 21 games for the Mariners (53-61). Cruz, who hit his major league-leading 34th homer, is batting .411 with 13 homers during that run.
“It’s just kind of stiff, the neck,” Cruz said. “Anybody can get that. I was sitting there and I felt the cramps.”
Hisashi Iwakuma (3-2, 4.41) is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his last six starts, completing at least seven innings four times. He’s had trouble this year after logging high pitch counts, however, and Seattle hopes that trend doesn’t continue after he threw a career-high 118 in Friday’s 4-3 win against Texas.
He allowed a combined right runs over 11 1-3 innings in his two starts immediately following his previous 100-pitch outings this year.
Iwakuma is 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA in three starts against Baltimore, getting one run of support in 19 2-3 innings.MORE NEWS: Man Shot In Joppatowne Saturday, Sheriff's Office Says
The Orioles haven’t dropped back-to-back games since a four-game skid July 21-24.