This isn’t the finishing touch that the Baltimore Orioles envisioned.
It’s all about finishing the right way, and it has been a tough month for the American League wild-card-contending Orioles, who are 8-10 in September.
“I think the effort’s been great,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “The games we haven’t played well there’s been some frustration because … that’s putting pressure on yourself to try to do as well as you possibly can and stay in this thing as long as you possibly can.
“But a lot of these guys are playing in games they’ve never played in before, and I think they’ll just be better because of it.”
The Orioles will try to get back on track Wednesday night against the visiting Detroit Tigers, who have won the first two games of the three-game series.
Baltimore (76-71) has scored two runs so far in the series. The Orioles have dropped 10 of their past 15 games.
The Tigers (57-91) are in rare territory as they try to secure just their second three-game winning streak since the All-Star break.
“Series wins have been tough to come by,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s nice to have the first two games in our favor. … I know it’s going to be a tough game (on Wednesday). Night game, getaway day. We have an off day (Thursday), so we’ll be able to empty the tank.”
Detroit outfielder Akil Baddoo entered the series with five RBIs all season and has added four across the first two games.
“His at-bats the last 10 days or so have been really good,” Hinch said. “He’s in much more control of his at-bats. He’s controlling the strike zone a little bit better and he’s getting rewarded for it.”
The Orioles received all of their Tuesday production from rookie Gunnar Henderson, who belted his first career Camden Yards home run. Henderson was slotted in the leadoff spot for the first time.
“(I would) like to see him be at the top of the order and get as many at-bats as possible,” Hyde said.
Baltimore outfielder Cedric Mullins, who frequently bats in the leadoff spot, had the night off Tuesday as Hyde decided to try something different against a left-handed starter.
Now it’s up to right-hander Jordan Lyles (10-11, 4.70 ERA) to do a solid job on the mound for the Orioles in case the bats are slow to produce again. It has been a rough September for Lyles, who has allowed 12 runs across 8 2/3 innings covering two outings.
Lyles is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in four appearances all-time against the Tigers. Other than being 0-3 in his career against the Orioles, Detroit is the only team in the American League against which he has at least one decision without a victory.
The Tigers beat Lyles on May 13 when he surrendered four runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings at Detroit.
Right-hander Matt Manning (2-2, 3.28 ERA) draws the starting pitching assignment for the Tigers. He worked seven shutout innings in his latest outing, Friday against the Chicago White Sox, matching the longest stint in his two-year big-league career.
Manning split two decisions against the Orioles last year, winning in Baltimore when he gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings. He has not faced the Orioles this season.
–Field Level Media