BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked Monday if he is beginning to think about a possible pitcher if Baltimore is involved in the American League wild-card playoff game.
Showalter said he and his staff talked about several things Monday, but that was not one of them.
One change the Orioles did make with an eye toward the postseason had nothing do with the pitching rotation.
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The team originally planned to take a train back from New York after ending regular-season play on Oct. 2 against the Yankees.
Showalter said the team now plans to fly back to Baltimore after that game — though of course it could end up flying to another city for a possible wild-card game. Showalter said he mainly wanted to let players' families know about the switch.
For now the biggest game, for the Orioles comes at home Tuesday when they host the Boston Red Sox in the second game of a four-game series.
Boston earned its fifth win in a row Monday with a 5-2 decision at Camden Yards. Rick Porcello went the distance for the third time this year and got his 21st win. The Orioles (82-68) fell four games back of the Red Sox (86-64) in the AL East.
“That's a two-game swing,” Boston manager John Farrell said of winning the series opener. “That's a good start.”
Showalter said of the Red Sox, “They are really good. I am impressed with how they play. (Their record) is not by accident.”
The Red Sox improved to 20-9 against AL East opposition since July 1.
“We have to keep playing hard,” Boston catcher Sandy Leon said.
Baltimore slipped into a tie for the two AL wild-card spots with the Toronto Blue Jays (82-68). Both teams are 2 1/2 games up on the Detroit Tigers.
The Orioles will send right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-10, 3.43 ERA) to the mound Tuesday against left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, a former Orioles minor-leaguer. Rodriguez (2-7, 4.98 ERA) was dealt by Baltimore to the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2014 for lefty reliever Andrew Miller, who is now with the Cleveland Indians.
Gausman fired eight shutout innings against the Red Sox during a 1-0 win Wednesday at Fenway Park in his most recent start.
In three starts against Boston this year, Gausman is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA. For his career vs. the Red Sox, he is 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 13 games (eight starts).
Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA six all-time starts against Baltimore, 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in three outings vs. the Orioles this year.
Rodriguez will have plenty of backup thanks to Porcello's four-hitter.
“They have another day of rest,” Farrell said of his bullpen.
Rodriguez has been effective against two of the top Baltimore hitters.
Left-handed hitting slugger Chris Davis is batting just .143 in 14 at-bats against the Boston pitcher. while Manny Machado is hitting .167 in 15 trips to the plate.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is batting .308 in 13 at-bats against Rodriguez, while Matt Wieters is hitting .200 in 10 trips. Caleb Joseph, the backup catcher to Wieters, is 2-for-2 against Rodriguez.
Gausman is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his past three starts, while Rodriguez is 0-1, 3.31 in his previous three outings.
David Ortiz is hitting .381 in 21 at-bats against Gausman, while Mookie Betts is hitting .353 in 17 at-bats. Both of them homered Monday.
Other Red Sox with a track record against Gausman include Dustin Pedroia, who is batting .300 in 20 trips to the plate. Travis Shaw is hitting .273 in 11 at-bats against Gausman, while Chris Young is batting .286 in 14 trips against the Orioles right-hander.
“They've got some real depth to their batting order like a lot of teams do in the American League East,” Showalter said of the Red Sox.
Boston is doing more than just hitting.
“We are having fun. That is the main thing,” Betts said. “Every day is a new day. Slow up to the yard and play.”