Baltimore will look to snag a series victory and move back to within two games of first place in Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have remained alone in first place since June 12, but saw their lead dwindle in late August.
As for the Orioles, many anticipated they would have fallen off by this point in the season, yet they remain entrenched in one of the two Wild Card spots with the calendar now flipped to September.
"Sometimes, when you're not around a club every day, some people might not recognize what a club has," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You're going to have those clubs that maybe people don't anticipate hunting for playoff spots every year."
Having won seven of their last 10 games, however, the Orioles aren't hunting for just any playoff spot -- they've got their sights set on their first AL East title since 1997. This is, after all, the latest in the season the Orioles have been within three games of first place since that '97 campaign.
"Keep doubting," Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said Friday night. "I don't care. We keep coming in and doing our jobs and doing the little things that win baseball games."
The Orioles will look to take the series when they turn to right-hander Chris Tillman in the finale. Tillman, who will be countered by Phil Hughes (13-11, 4.02 ERA), conceded just one hit over seven shutout innings in a 6-0 victory Tuesday over the White Sox. The win improved his record to 7-2 this season to go along with his 3.26 ERA in 10 starts.
Orioles: Wolf to be used out of 'pen
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, who was officially added to the Orioles' 25-man roster on Friday, will be used primarily out of the bullpen during Baltimore's postseason push.
Wolf was released by the Brewers last week during the final year of a three-year, $29.75 million contract after starting the year 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA. The 36-year-old southpaw has made just five career relief appearances -- one of which came earlier this season -- in 371 games.
"It's different, but I think it's exciting," Wolf said. "A big part of my decision was coming here and helping the team, which I think has a great chance of winning. Being in the playoffs the past two out of three years, I realized that's what it's all about -- to play September baseball when it actually means something and every game's important. No matter what the role is, that's exciting."
Yankees: Rodriguez could return Monday
Though the Yankees' lead in the AL East has shrunk a bit as of late, help may soon be on the way in the form of Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who has been out more than a month with a broken bone in his left hand, could rejoin the Yankees as soon as Monday for their series against the Rays. Rodriguez went 0-for-3 in a rehab game Friday night at Class A Tampa, where he is also expected to play Saturday and Sunday.
"I haven't talked to him this morning to see how he felt, but I got good reports," Girardi said Saturday. "I think it's definitely a possibility if he comes through the next two days, that he could join us in St. Petersburg."
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is 8-for-14 (.571) with one home run and six RBIs in his career against Tillman.
The Orioles, who are 7-6 against the Yanks this season, are looking to win their first season series against New York since 1997. There are five meetings remaining, including Sunday.