The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a tough series loss to division rival and holder of the third AL Wild Card spot, the Toronto Blue Jays, that left them 4.5 games out of a postseason birth.
The Boston Red Sox on the other hand, have become the cellar dwellers of the AL East and sits 5.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for fourth place.
Needless to say, this series will benefit one team and leave the other in a deep hole to climb out of in order to make the Wild Card.
The Red Sox, who usually are the ones fighting for the playoffs, come into this series 18-39 against the AL East. That includes the Orioles, who lead the season series 7-4, with seven games remaining starting today.
Boston will send Brayon Bello, Michael Watcha and Rich Hill to try and fend off an Orioles lineup anchored by rookies Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson.
The Orioles will counter with Austin Voth, Jordan Lyles (who missed his last start with an illness) and Kyle Bradish.
As big as this series is, the one thing the Orioles will need to do is be aggressive at the plate. That’s why The Baltimore Battery ❌-FACTOR for this series is the O’s offensive production.
The offense was a combined 7-for-28 (.250) with runners in scoring position, with two games having zero hits with RISP, against Toronto. If not for a game three victory where they went 6-for-11, that figure would have been a lot worse.
Against the Blue Jays, the Orioles scored four or fewer runs in three games, all of which were losses. They failed to come up with key hits and didn’t capitalize when opportunities arose.
That needs to change in this series for the O’s to regain some ground in the Wild Card race.
GAME 1 STARTING LINEUP:
The Orioles push for the playoffs continues tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. You can catch each game on MASN or on your local Orioles Radio Network station.
How do you see this series playing out? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman