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The last regular season Orioles game thread of the year

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Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

My dear Camden Chatters. My dear (here there is a long, rambling list of every Camden Chatter - yes, even you). Also my good lurkers that I welcome back at last to Camden Chat. Today is the one hundred sixty-second game of the season. It is one hundred sixty-two today! I hope you are all enjoying yourselves as much as I am.

I shall not keep you long. I have called you all together for a purpose. Indeed, for three purposes! First of all, to tell you that I am immensely fond of you all, and that one hundred sixty-two games is too short a time to blog among such excellent and admirable Orioles fans. I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

Secondly, to celebrate my final regular season game thread of the year. I should say, OUR final regular season game thread of the year, for it is, of course, also the last regular season Orioles game for you as well, unless a potential tiebreaker counts as regular season? I don't know.

It is also, if I should be allowed to refer to ancient history, almost six years and two months anniversary since the arrival of Buck Showalter as manager - though the fact that would be so significant slipped my mind at the time. We were 32-73 then, and individual game threads did not seem so important. The game thread was very splendid, however, though I had a bad cold at the time, I remember, and could only say 'thag you very buch'. I now repeat it more correctly: Thank you very much for coming to our little game threads, night in and night out.

Thirdly and finally, I wish to make an announcement. I regret to announce that - though, as I said, one hundred sixty-two games is far too short a time to spend among you - this is the END. I am going. I am leaving NOW. Good-bye!


No, I'm not actually going anywhere. I'm just indulging in my annual <i>The Fellowship of the Ring</i> reference. And if you'll forgive me for dipping into the Lord of the Rings well again (I'm going to do it even if you don't forgive me) what we have today is One Game To Rule Them All.

It's simple, really. If the Orioles win, they're in the playoffs, where they will then play another One Game To Rule Them All. If the Orioles win and the Blue Jays lose, the Orioles will host the wild card game. If the Orioles lose, then some other outcomes will become important, including, if Detroit wins today, Detroit's makeup game against Cleveland tomorrow.

We don't want the Orioles in that chaos. I sure don't want them to get involved in a three-team tiebreaker scenario (O's, Jays both lose, Tigers win today and tomorrow) because that would be nuts. I don't need this stress. All games will be going more or less simultaneously today. I don't know how to handle this. Game 162 has never mattered for the Orioles in my life.

A year ago, the Orioles played their final game needing a win to have a .500 season. I do like it much better when they need a win to get into the playoffs instead. Except this is much more stressful, this way. I am not prepared for it. I may not be a functional human being today.

Today's game matters a whole lot. Kevin Gausman is on the mound. The Orioles lineup looks weird. It's the 125th different batting order this season. Luis Cessa stands between the Orioles and the playoffs. So you know what they SHOULD do and what they need to do. What they will do is another story, which is what will make today so terrifying and exciting.

Today's Lineups

Michael Bourn - RF Brett Gardner - LF
Adam Jones - CF Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Gary Sanchez - C
Mark Trumbo - DH Brian McCann - DH
Matt Wieters - C Mark Teixeira - 1B
Chris Davis - 1B Didi Gregorius - SS
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Aaron Hicks - RF
Hyun Soo Kim - LF Ronald Torreyes - 3B
J.J. Hardy - SS Donovan Solano - 2B
Kevin Gausman - RHP Luis Cessa - RHP