The worst has happened. The Orioles were swept by the Red Sox. The offense has disappeared for so long that it has ascended to the status of a Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster, seen only in grainy photographs, disbelieved by all people of good sense.
It’s bad out there. I’m talking red alert because Klingons just decloaked off the starboard bow bad. Shai-Hulud is on the sands. Charlie is in the dang perimeter. The shark is swimming in the water and he smells blood.
Nine games remain for the Orioles to do something to try fix the mess they’ve made for themselves. Only three of those games will be at home. The way they’ve been playing over this homestand, you may not even want to see nine more Orioles games this year. Enough is enough. But they are only a half game back of the second wild card spot, still, even despite that disaster of a series.
The Fangraphs standings predictions have shifted once again. They now believe that 87 wins will bring about a tiebreaking game for the second AL Wild Card between the Orioles and Tigers. The proponents of Team Entropy, who want to see a three- or four-team (or more) wild card tie, are salivating. It’s still a possibility.
The Orioles having to play a tiebreaker just to get into the one game wild card playoff is a less exciting outcome than you might have been imagining a week ago, but it’s better than the trajectory the O’s are on right now. They still need to go 5-4 to reach 87 wins.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Standing: Home wild card team; one game ahead of Tigers
- Last Game: Lost to Mariners, 2-1
- Next series: vs. Yankees (79-73), four games
- Current playoff chances: 77.2% (up from 66.7 before Monday’s games)
- To reach 89 wins (WC1): 6-4
One way that the Orioles could find a door open back up for them is if the Yankees take some games out of the Blue Jays this weekend while the Orioles right the ship and take care of business against the Diamondbacks. The last time we were relying on the Yankees, they were swept in four games by the Red Sox, and the Orioles didn’t take care of business anyway.
- Standing: Road wild card team; half game ahead of Orioles
- Yesterday: Swept doubleheader from Twins (9-2, 4-2)
- Next series: vs. Royals (77-76), three games
- Current playoff chances: 57.8% (up from 24.3)
- To reach 87 wins (WC2): 5-5
It’s bad for the Orioles that the Tigers only have to go .500 the rest of the way just for the O’s to maybe set up a tie. Any better than that and the Tigers will just be in and the Orioles will have only themselves to blame.
One bit of good news for the Orioles is that the Tigers have four games remaining against the Indians. Detroit is just 2-13 against Cleveland this season. The bad news is that the final three games the Tigers will play this year are against the Braves.
- Standing: Half game behind Tigers
- Yesterday: Lost to Red Sox, 5-3
- Next series: vs. Diamondbacks (64-88), three games
- Current playoff chances: 33.9% (down from 74.5)
- To reach 87 wins: 5-4
If you have noticed how the Orioles have played in Toronto in recent years, where they have three games remaining this year, you may feel like the only way the O’s have a chance to do this thing is if they sweep the Diamondbacks this weekend.
- Standing: 1.5 games behind Tigers
- Yesterday: Lost to Angels, 2-0
- Current series: vs. Angels (67-86), three more games
- Current playoff chances: 16.6% (up from 11.1)
- To reach 87 wins: 6-3
Six of the nine remaining games Houston will play will be against the Angels, who, given that they have Mike Trout playing at a Mike Trout level and are still nearly 20 games below .500, may be the most pathetic franchise in the entirety of Major League Baseball.
- Standing: Two games behind Tigers
- Last Game: Beat Blue Jays, 2-1
- Next series: at Twins (55-98, three games)
- Current playoff chances: 12.9% (down from 22.1)
- To reach 87 wins: 7-3
Why does it seem like every team the Orioles are competing with gets to play the Twins or Braves in September? Not only that, but the Mariners also have four games left to play against the last place Athletics, and unlike the Orioles, Seattle does not suck against Oakland. They’re 10-5 against the Athletics this year.
So not only do the Orioles have to find a way to pass the Tigers, but they also have to hold off two AL West teams who each have two series remaining against some of baseball’s worst teams.
The boat ran into the iceberg an hour ago. The rich people took off with all of the lifeboats. The only thing remaining now is the embrace of a cold and watery grave.