Sep 15, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) hits a sacrifice fly scoring first baseman Chris Davis (not pictured) during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
(American League team on the rise)
Baltimore Orioles: When this week began it looked like the Red Sox might have a chance to climb out of the AL East basement and leap all the way to third place in the division. Then they traveled to Baltimore and dropped the first two games of the series by a total of three runs.
The O’s have now won three straight and six of their last 10 to distance themselves from last place. They are still 5.5 games out of a playoff spot, with four teams to climb over in the Wild Card race. Making the playoffs may not be realistic anymore, but climbing back over .500 would be a reasonable goal.
Chris Davis has been lighting it up this month, slashing .413/.550/.935 with 7 home runs already in September. He is now tied with Nelson Cruz for the league lead in homers with 42 and his 107 RBIs are the second most in the league. The batting average isn’t what you’d like it to be, but he still gets on base at a reasonable clip to go along with his tremendous power. If the O’s were in contention, Davis would be on the verge of the MVP discussion, at least as a dark horse candidate.
Baltimore won’t be repeating as division champs this season, but a strong finish would at least push them into a respectable position, whereas a few days ago they were heading for last place. The Red Sox know a thing or two about going from first to worst, so they know firsthand that it’s a result the Orioles desperately want to avoid.