The Orioles entered the last game of the season with hopes of ending the season on a five-game winning streak, but they'll have to settle for other symbols of progress under Buck Showalter as the season ends. Brad Bergesen continued the trend of solid starts by the rest of the rotation in their final starts of the year, going seven strong innings and giving up three runs while walking none. However, after touching up emergency Tigers starter Phil Coke for two runs in 1.2 innings, the Orioles were unable to score against a smorgasbord of Detroit relievers. Ten hits were only good for two runs, and so the season closes with a 66-96 record - either the third- or fourth-worst record in the majors, depending on what Arizona does today.
Though the team couldn't take a win into the offseason, individual Orioles can look at this game and be pleased. Robert Andino went 2-5, Nick Markakis went 3-5 (finishing just shy of a .300 batting average), and Luke Scott went 1-2 with three walks. Markakis and Scott drove in the two Orioles runs, each scoring on singles. In the field, Josh Bell was trying to get on every highlight reel he could, with a nice barehanded grab on a bunt and showing nice range to his left and right on grounders. As duck said, if he only brought a bat to MLB, we could probably pencil him in for next year. Bergy took the loss but lowered his ERA below 5 for the year, sort of a meaningless symbolic milestone. Any port in a storm.
On the other side of the coin, some Orioles had a tough last game, with Ty Wigginton going 0-4 with a GIDP, and Felix Pie and Adam Jones with a pair of ugly strikeouts. It was also a rough ninth inning for Brandon Snyder, who entered at first base after Corey Patterson pinch-hit for Cesar Izturis. Snyder dropped a couple of balls he needed to pick out of the dirt, which led to the fourth Detroit run scoring. So it goes.
Who will be back, who won't be back, and who will be filling what role are all questions that will be hashed out throughout the offseason, and hopefully you'll stay tuned to Camden Chat to discuss all the moves. In past years we've kept up open threads through the playoffs as well, so for a few more weeks you can still get a baseball fix here too. I'm sure we'll have a season post-mortem some time. Maybe I'll even get crazy and write something that isn't a game thread or a post-game recap.
The 2010 season ends as the first since 2004 where the Orioles actually had a better record than the prior season. Gaining two games a year means we'll hit the playoffs some time around 2025, so here's hoping we can pick up a few more wins for next year. There are still a lot of question marks going into next year, but maybe we can actually dare to hope a little in 2011. Andy MacPhail, let me start you off with a tip: don't sign Garrett Atkins.