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Machado, rotation key for 2nd-half surge

With Wild Card in sight, O's Deadline approach will depend on July play
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are in an interesting situation for the next three weeks. Do they make a move, hoping to turn things around in the second half? Or do they sell, in an attempt to rebuild and reload for the future?

No one is quite sure what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will do. After all, the O's (42-46) are in fourth place in the American League East, having just moved out of the basement with Sunday's win. But they're also just four games out of the AL Wild Card race, making the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline very interesting. What Baltimore does in the win-loss column the rest of the month could go a long way toward determining the rest of the season.

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are in an interesting situation for the next three weeks. Do they make a move, hoping to turn things around in the second half? Or do they sell, in an attempt to rebuild and reload for the future?

No one is quite sure what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will do. After all, the O's (42-46) are in fourth place in the American League East, having just moved out of the basement with Sunday's win. But they're also just four games out of the AL Wild Card race, making the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline very interesting. What Baltimore does in the win-loss column the rest of the month could go a long way toward determining the rest of the season.

While we wait for a more definitive approach, here's an early look at some of the Orioles' options.

Pitching a first-half challenge for Orioles

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Trade scenario 
If the O's are going to try to make a run, they're going to have to beef up their rotation and add a starter. If not, perhaps they will trade some of their relief pitching (closer Zach Britton would bring back a nice haul from a contender), in hopes of adding to their farm system.

Video: BAL@MIL: Britton works out of trouble in DL return

What are they playing for?
The Orioles are still in postseason contention, and they are hoping to turn things around enough in the second half to get to the playoffs.

The road ahead
Things don't get any easier for the O's, who have a long homestand out of the All-Star break in which the Cubs, Rangers and Astros come to visit. They've got a three-city West Coast trip next month and a series at first-place Boston in late August.

Video: BAL@MIN: Machado lines an RBI single to left field

Key player
Manny Machado had an early-season slump, the most prolonged of his carer, and he's crucial to the Orioles' second-half success. You can also make the case for righty Kevin Gausman, who has been better of late and will need to be sharp to help get the rotation back on track.

Prospects to watch
No. 10 prospect Tanner Scott is one to keep an eye on. The young lefty with a big fastball ended the first half with a 1.84 ERA for Double-A Bowie. Working in three-inning stints, Scott has improved his offspeed pitch and is an intriguing option for the O's.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

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