If the Baltimore Orioles are going to stay in contention for a place in the American League playoffs, they understand the opportunity couldn't be much better in front of them.
The Orioles, who've wavered lately, take on the struggling Detroit Tigers on Monday night in Baltimore.
They've come so far this season that they sense they can put up a good battle for the next couple of weeks.
"We've just got to keep grinding," manager Brandon Hyde said.
This meeting with the Tigers commences a seven-game homestand for the Orioles (76-69), who've won just five of their past 13 games. They did salvage the final game in Toronto with a 5-4 victory Sunday that included scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning to wipe out a 3-2 hole.
"We've got to continue supporting each other through this," Baltimore outfielder Anthony Santander said. "Just focus on every single pitch and do our best to do the best we can and that's the only way we're going to get through this."
Adding to the concerns is that first baseman Ryan Mountcastle missed Sunday's game with a bruised right tricep and was described by Hyde as being significantly sore. Mountcastle, who was hit by a pitch Saturday, and Santander lead the Orioles with 79 RBIs apiece.
Baltimore didn't take full advantage of a 10-game homestand earlier this month, going 4-6 against Oakland, Toronto and Boston.
This three-game series begins a six-game road trip for the Tigers (55-91), who've lost six of their last seven games. That included Sunday's 11-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
"We just lacked execution across the board with most of our pitchers," Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. "Offensively, we obviously didn't execute either. You miss on both of those sides against anyone at this level (you've got trouble)."
Detroit could receive an offensive boost as Hinch said veteran Miguel Cabrera will be activated Monday after missing a couple of weeks with a biceps strain. Still, Cabrera's role is likely to be limited. The team optioned infielder Kody Clemens to Triple-A Toledo.
The Tigers used four relievers on Sunday. Even out of the playoff race, Hinch said it might not be practical to alter roles for members of the pitching staff.
"We just want our best pitchers to pitch," he said. "There are opportunities to switch roles. I think right now committing to that is way too soon."
Right-hander Tyler Wells (7-6, 3.93 ERA) will be the starter for the Orioles. Baltimore has lost in four of his last five appearances, though Wells hasn't issued a walk in two of his last three outings, so that's a sign of progress.
Left-hander Tyler Alexander (3-10, 5.35) will make his 14th start of the season for the Tigers. In his last 12 appearances, Detroit has lost 11 times.
Alexander has faced Baltimore just twice, notching his first major league victory with six innings on Sept. 16, 2019, against the Orioles. The only other time he faced them came with giving up two runs in four innings last year.
--Field Level Media