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Orioles, Rays start series in AL wildcard chase

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If it's mid-August and you think it's too early to talk about the state of the Major League Baseball postseason, think again.

When the rising Baltimore Orioles take on the struggling Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday night, it's practically a playoff for him. will be a series.

After all, the Orioles and Rays are now in a fierce battle for the final wild card his spot in the American League.

The Rays have lost three of their last four games, most recently against Milwaukee on Wednesday, when he lost 4-3 in 10 innings.

Meanwhile, the Orioles have momentum. Despite his 4-3 loss to Boston on Thursday night, Baltimore has him 37-23 since the start of June. Orioles also he's 7-2 since the beginning of August.

The Rays continue to point to late August or early September for the return of two of his offensive leaders, WonderFranco and Harold Ramirez.

Franco (wrist) and Ramirez (thumb) were injured in his mid-July. The first positive news about either came Wednesday from Rays manager Kevin Cash.

"Wonder and Harold may be with us on the field (hitting practice) on Friday just to see where they are," Cash said.

Even if Franco and Ramirez hit well, Cash said he needs to play four or five rehab games before he can play in the big leagues.

The Orioles have also heard good news on the injury front. One of the team's frontrunners, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, is expected to take Monday off Friday as he recovers from a high fever.

Rodriguez is likely to return in his league in the minors, but the Orioles have not ruled out the possibility that Rodriguez will pitch in his league this year.

"He feels really good," said Baltimore general his manager Mike Elias. “We don’t have a timetable yet, but it will heighten our desire to get him on the game mound before the end of the year than when we first announced that his injury had occurred. We want that.”

The Rays will break out in this series as Tampa Bay tries to hold out until they can help offense. Their top three pitchers — Corey Kluber, Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen — will start against Baltimore.

"I think the goal for every team in spring training is to make sure these games mean something at the end," said Cy Young Award. said Kluber, who won the award twice. Friday night start. "So to be in that position, that's what we accept and go out there and play our best baseball all the way to the end." not here. That's largely because the second baseman Rougned Odor has provided more than enough. His two-run homer on Tuesday night made the difference in his 6-5 victory over visiting Toronto.

"Roogy has created some big hits for us. I love his attitude," said Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde. “I feel like he brings toughness to us. I think he brings some edge. I am ready to do it, and I hope I made an impact on others this year.”

– Field Level Media