We started from the bottom, now we're here. Once on this site, we joked about how we would be led to the promised land, slightly ahead of the Blue Jays. This is just a bit more than slightly ahead of the Blue Jays. The magic number is 1. A win in any game for the remainder of the season and the Orioles clinch the division title for the first time since 1997.
Will it happen tonight? This starting pitching matchup suggests otherwise. But maybe something weird will happen.
RHP Drew Hutchison, Blue Jays
2014: 29 GS, 169.1 IP, 4.36 ERA, 159 SO, 54 BB, .241 BAA, 1.25 WHIP
Last start (vs. Cubs): 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 SO
At one time, it seemed like Hutchison's dominance of the Orioles was the only thing keeping him in the major leagues. He was basically terrible against everyone else and lights out against the O's. That's no joke. Hutchison has made four starts against the O's, pitching 27.2 innings while allowing only three runs. Against everyone else he's allowed 79 runs in 141.2 innings, a 5.02 ERA. This on a team that carried hopes of the playoffs into September. Hutchison is on a streak of four straight quality starts that's had nothing to do with the O's, but still, if it wasn't for this team, he might have gotten demoted long ago.
He is the Orioles' kryptonite, and he hasn't allowed a run at Camden Yards this year across two starts. This is fate, in some ways. The Orioles get their first bite at clinching the division title and they have to beat someone who has plagued them all season. Oh yeah, and the Orioles starter?
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles
2014: 22 G, 20 GS, 114.1 IP, 4.96 ERA, 104 SO, 70 BB, .249 BAA, 1.56 WHIP
Last game (relief, vs. Twins): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO
It would be nice to be in the stadium for the first clinch since 1997. I'll take my chances that it's probably not happening tonight. Jimenez was banished to the bullpen after being too terrible for the rotation, and he has not done so great there, with his last game being on August 31. They can't even trust him as a garbage man. He walks like a million people, approximately.
If ever there was such a thing as a reverse lock, it's probably Hutchison against the Orioles with Jimenez getting a spot start. I don't think even that will be enough. But maybe I'll be wrong and we'll all be celebrating tonight.
|TORONTO BLUE JAYS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Jose Reyes - SS||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Jose Bautista - RF||Alejandro De Aza - LF|
|Edwin Encarnacion - DH||Adam Jones - CF|
|Adam Lind - 1B||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Dioner Navarro - C||Steve Pearce - 1B|
|Danny Valencia - 3B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Munenori Kawasaki - 2B||Jimmy Paredes - 3B|
|Kevin Pillar - LF||Ryan Flaherty - 2B|
|Anthony Gose - CF||Nick Hundley - C|
|Drew Hutchison - RHP||Ubaldo Jimenez - RHP|