(Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
The Baltimore Orioles have had a win mentality all season. They don't want to back off during the last weekend of the regular season.
"I still want to play well," manager Brandon Hyde said. "I want to play to win."
The Orioles and visiting Boston Red Sox will meet in the third game of their four-game series on Saturday night.
The Orioles (100-60) had won five in a row before losing 3-0 on Friday, a night after they clinched the American League East title with a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox.
"It was a big night for us (Thursday) night, and we just didn't play our best baseball (on Friday), and those things happen," Hyde said. "Hopefully, we'll rebound and play a better game."
Boston (77-83) ended a five-game skid on Friday.
"There's a lot of good things that are happening in that clubhouse," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "They're still playing hard."
Boston's offense still has holes. The Red Sox ended a 23-inning scoreless streak when Trevor Story hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning on Friday, but it still was far from an offensive outburst.
The Red Sox aren't done learning about their personnel, even with just two games left in the season. That's what was among the takeaways from seeing Nick Pivetta throw seven shutout innings and strike out 10 on Friday.
"It has been fun to watch," Cora said. "He's going to work hard in the offseason to keep getting better. He should be one of the guys next year when we talk about it."
The Orioles have more pressing matters. Though they will have nearly a week off before opening the playoffs at home on Oct. 7, they want to start formalizing a plan, and that could dictate some moves this weekend.
"Nothing's set in stone right now," Hyde said. "We're seeing who we're playing (in the first postseason series), and we have some time."
Hyde gave right fielder Anthony Santander the night off Friday, putting Heston Kjerstad in the lineup for his first start in the outfield.
"You're going to see him play probably two, if not all three, of these games and give him the at-bats," Hyde said. "I want to give him four or five at-bats a night if I can and see what he's like against big-league pitching."
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (15-9, 4.86 ERA), who already has a career-high win total, will be the Orioles' starting pitcher on Saturday. Baltimore has won three of four September games pitched by Gibson, who is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in those contests. He faced the Red Sox in the season opener on March 30 and earned a win despite giving up four runs in five-plus innings.
Gibson will make his career-high 33rd start. He is 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA in nine career starts against Boston.
The Red Sox are set to give the ball to right-hander Kutter Crawford (6-8, 4.23), who has gone six consecutive outings without a victory. Boston went 1-5 in those games, while Crawford was 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA. Most recently, he yielded three runs in 5 1/3 innings during a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Crawford surrendered 11 runs across 3 2/3 innings covering two appearances (one start) last year in his only career matchups with the Orioles.
Baltimore is 6-5 in September home games, dropping their season mark at Camden Yards to 48-31. The Orioles will have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.
--Field Level Media