The Orioles, winners of seven of their last 10 games while taking recent road series against the Angels, Royals and Twins, return to Camden Yards tonight for an eight-game homestand.
First up, the San Diego Padres for two games. Then, division rival Tampa Bay for three weekend games.
And finally, the first-place New York Yankees — a game ahead of the O’s at the moment in the American League East — for three games early next week. Is it too soon to call a three-game match-up against the Yankees a big series? Sure. So what. If the O’s continue to play well against Padres and Rays, the Yankee series should make for some early season fun.
At the moment, however, the problem for Orioles isn’t the Yankees, but their own starting pitching. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen had to leave Sunday’s win over the Twins with a strained oblique. Overall, the starting rotation, while generally keeping the O’s in ballgames through five and six innings, isn’t going deep into ballgames.
So far, the O’s have ridden their strong bullpen and a resilient offense, led by Chris Davis, Adam Jones and 20-year-old Manny Machado for most of the year, to a 23-15 record. It'd be nice to get the rotation rolling as well.
Tonight the hope is Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.76 ERA), pitching well in his last three starts, will give the rotation a lift against San Diego Padres. Start time is 7:05 p.m., folks.
Wednesday, by the way, with temperatures expected to reach into the 80s, might be a good day to skip work for the afternoon — the first pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m.