"You always want to finish strong," said rookie catcher Matt Wieters. "We haven't played very well up here, but now you've just got to put it behind you and go on to play better in Cleveland."
The Indians have lost 10 consecutive games and are jockeying neck-and-neck with the Orioles for the worst record in the American League, and both teams will be trying to avoid the specter of a 100-loss season. Baltimore hasn't sunk to that depth since 1988, and it will take three wins in the final 10 games to miss it again.
The Orioles will throw three rookies against the Indians, and two of their three starters will have a lower ERA than their direct competition. Baltimore can also take pride in the recent offensive surge made by Wieters, who has taken to the No. 3 hole with a five-game hitting streak. Wieters has hit .545 (12-for-22) since moving up in the order.
And if Baltimore is going to get back on the right track, it will have to curb the amount of home runs it allows to the opposition. The Orioles have allowed 200 home runs this season, the most in the Major Leagues. Baltimore set a franchise record by allowing 226 homers in 1987, a mark that appears to be out of reach.
The Orioles will head to St. Petersburg for a four-game series with the Rays after they're done in Cleveland, and once that series ends, they'll have a three-game homestand against the Blue Jays before they wrap up the season. Baltimore hasn't lost more than 94 games since 2002, and hasn't lost more than 95 since 2001. The Orioles won 68 games last season.Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP David Hernandez (4-8, 5.34 ERA)
Hernandez pitched competitively for two months, but he's struggled through his second turn around the league. The right-handed rookie went 1-4 with a 5.83 ERA in six August starts, and he's gone 0-2 with a 10.26 mark in September. Hernandez allowed just four home runs in his first eight outings but he's allowed 20 home runs in his past 10 starts. CLE: RHP Fausto Carmona (3-12, 6.89 ERA)
Carmona's ongoing struggles continued in his most recent start against Oakland as the 25-year-old surrendered nine runs -- eight earned -- on 10 hits and one walk through 5 2/3 innings. He is now 0-4 with a 10.72 ERA (27 earned runs in 22 2/3 innings) over his past five starts -- a span that includes a .373 opponents batting average. Bird bites
The Orioles are 20-44 since the All-Star break and 12-20 in their past 32 games. ... Baltimore is 39-35 when it scores first and 21-57 when the opposition draws first blood. The Orioles are also 54-36 when they score at least four runs and 6-56 when they score fewer than four. ... Second baseman Brian Roberts is one double away from setting the all-time mark for doubles (56) in a season by a switch-hitter. ... Baltimore has seen its rotation throw 54 quality starts this season, and it's seen the opponent throw 68 quality starts. ... The Orioles are 8-70 when they get outhit by the opposition and 48-14 when they log more hits than their opponents. ... Baltimore is 49-85 against teams from the AL East and 17-17 against teams from the AL Central. Tickets
Buy tickets now to catch the game in person. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
MASN HD On radio
105.7 The Fan Up next
Saturday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 5-12, 6.41) at Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 6-10, 4.92), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Orioles (Chris Tillman, 2-4, 4.71) at Indians (David Huff, 10-8, 5.98), 1:05 p.m. ET
Monday: Orioles (Mark Hendrickson, 5-5, 4.37) at Rays (Jeff Niemann, 12-6, 3.81), 7:08 p.m. ET
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.