The Baltimore Orioles' chances for a second straight postseason appearance have officially been dashed, largely due to the club's prolonged offensive slump.
They'll hope the offense finally comes alive Wednesday night against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays as the Orioles try to avoid their first seven-game losing streak in two years.
Baltimore (81-76) was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday with a 3-2 loss in 10 innings, with Mark DeRosa driving in both the tying run in the eighth as a pinch-hitter as well as the go-ahead score.
The Orioles haven't been to the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1996-97. Baltimore earned a reputation for squeaking out close victories last year after going 29-9 in one-run games, but is 17-31 in such contests this season.
The club hasn't lost seven in a row since a nine-game skid from July 4-15, 2011.
"We play all the way from February 15th or whenever we started to get to the playoffs," J.J. Hardy said. "It's hard to think that after how many games we've played since then, we're not going, so yeah, it's tough."
The Orioles trailed Tampa Bay by two games for the AL's second wild-card spot on Sept. 2. They're 8-13 since while scoring five runs or fewer in each contest, the first time they've done so in 21 consecutive games since 1992.
Baltimore has averaged 3.3 runs during this stretch, compared to a 4.8 average in its previous 136 games, which ranked fourth in baseball.
Trying to extend the Orioles' woes will be scheduled starter Esmil Rogers (5-8, 4.52 ERA), who comes off the second-shortest start of his career. He issued five walks and was charged with a wild pitch while allowing two runs and three hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss at Boston on Friday.
He is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA over eight career appearances versus Baltimore, giving up three runs and five hits over six innings of a 4-3 victory in the only start on Sept. 14.
Chris Davis - who is 6 for 39 (.154) over his last nine games with 16 strikeouts - is 3 for 7 off Rogers with two doubles.
Matching up opposite Rogers will be Bud Norris (4-3, 4.63). Lingering elbow tightness has left him unable to start since Sept. 8, when he allowed four runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He was the losing pitcher after surrendering the go-ahead run in a 5-4, 18-inning loss at Tampa Bay on Friday, throwing 2 1-3 innings of emergency relief.
The Orioles received good news Tuesday in the form of an MRI revealed a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in Manny Machado's left knee, an injury he can likely return from in time for spring training.
Adam Lind, who was 2 for 3 Tuesday, has hit safely in 15 of his 16 games against Baltimore this year, going 26 for 60 (.433).
Toronto can clinch the season series for the third time in four years with a win Wednesday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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