Baltimore Orioles Win First of 15 Straight


Sep 19, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Often in recent years we have seen that the best team going into the playoffs is not necessarily the one with the best record for the season. Often it has been the team playing the best baseball in the weeks leading up to early October—like the Kansas City Royals last year.

What a great opportunity is presented to the Baltimore Orioles to be that team this year!  As we wrote yesterday, all they have to do is win the final 15 games of the regular season and they will be the team will all the momentum!

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The Orioles won the first of these 15 games last night over the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1.  It was the sort of win that we would expect out of a veteran team like the O’s.  Wei-Yin Chen pitched seven solid innings of precise pitch placement, giving up only one run. Darren O’Day set up Zach Britton for the save. Chris Davis and Adam Jones were the two players critical to the two runs scored, as between them they had five of the 10 Orioles hits. Great defense served the Birds well throughout the game. The only missing ingredient was the trademark homer or two.

Putting these pieces together, this is the Baltimore Orioles team that we signed up for in March… not the squad that has the second-worst record in all of baseball in won-loss percentage on the road!

The win also puts the Orioles at 10-8 on the season against the Rays, with only Sunday’s game remaining. Of course, as it turned out this year, 13 of the 19 games against Tampa Bay were played in St. Petersburg.

Chen game up six hits in his seven innings, striking out seven while not walking a batter. He looked able to pretty much put the ball wherever he wanted it. For the effort, Chen tallied his 10th win of the season against seven losses, lowering his ERA to 3.36. For his career in Baltimore. Chen is now 45-32 with a 3.74 ERA. 

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This has turned out to be a good expenditure of $15,446,000.  He will certainly pull down a decent deal somewhere in the offseason. It would seem to me that Seattle would be a likely place for several reasons, including the larger ballpark. Chen does give up the long fly, as he is #2 in the American League with 28 home runs allowed. Even so, most often they are solo shots. A few balls were just barely foul last night; they could have changed the game completely if just a few feet toward the middle of the field.

With one win down and 14 to go, Kevin Gausman gets the start on Sunday afternoon in an effort to get the big winning streak extended. He is 3-6 this year, but has had an epic lack of run support. With Chen headed out of town and Chris Tillman simply not the same guy, the time has arrived for Gausman to begin to establish himself as the top pitcher on the staff.

Next: Six reasons to follow the O's to the last pitch of 2015