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The Orioles wild card chances on Labor Day (26 games remain)

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Despite beating the Yankees in two of three games this weekend, the O’s playoff chances have dropped to 37.2%.

When last we looked in on the Orioles playoff chances less than a week ago, they were better than a 50/50 shot to make it. Since Wednesday, they’ve gone 2-2, and despite the fact that they beat the Yankees in a series at home, their chances have declined, according to ESPN’s standings, to 37.2%.

The problem for the Orioles is that their problem is not the Yankees. With 26 games to play, the Orioles are tied with the Tigers for the second wild card spot, and only two games ahead of the Astros. The Tigers have seven games remaining against the Twins, three against the White Sox, and three against the Braves.

Here is where things stand across the race for the second wild card spot on Labor Day. Maybe if we’re lucky, either the Blue Jays or Red Sox will fall down to this level, but don’t count on it.

Baltimore Orioles

  • Wild Card Standing: Tied for second wild card spot
  • Yesterday: Lost to Yankees, 5-2
  • Next series: at Rays (58-77), three games
  • Current playoff chances: 37.2%
  • Needed to reach 88 wins: 14-12

Detroit Tigers

  • Wild Card Standing: Tied for second wild card spot
  • Yesterday: Beat Royals, 6-5
  • Next series: at White Sox (65-71), three games
  • Current playoff chances: 57.0%
  • To reach 88 wins: 14-12

Houston Astros

  • Wild Card Standing: Two games behind Orioles/Tigers
  • Yesterday: Beat Rangers, 7-6
  • Next series: at Indians (79-56), four games
  • Current playoff chances: 18.3%
  • To reach 88 wins: 16-10

New York Yankees

  • Wild Card Standing: 3.5 games behind Orioles/Tigers
  • Yesterday: Beat Orioles, 5-2
  • Next series: vs. Blue Jays (77-59), three games
  • Current playoff chances: 2.6%
  • To reach 88 wins: 18-9

Kansas City Royals

  • Wild Card Standing: Four games behind Orioles/Tigers
  • Yesterday: Lost to Tigers, 6-5
  • Next series: at Twins (51-86), three games
  • Current playoff chances: 2.6%
  • To reach 88 wins: 18-8

Seattle Mariners

  • Wild Card Standing: Five games behind Orioles/Tigers
  • Yesterday: Lost to Angels, 4-2
  • Next series: vs. Rangers (82-55), four games
  • Current playoff chances: 2.6%
  • To reach 88 wins: 19-7

Whether 88 wins is going to be any kind of magic number for reaching the post season remains to be seen. It no longer seems TOO unlikely that either the Orioles or the Tigers - more likely the Tigers - could go better than 14-12 the remainder of the way. Fangraphs, as of Sunday night, does still think 88 wins is the magic number.

The Orioles will have to keep their standing with a road series against the Rays over the next three days. They’ve not been great on the road - 29-37 so far - and right now they can’t buy a base hit with a runner in scoring position, including an 0-10 in Sunday’s loss to the Yankees. Runners are scoring from first base or home plate or not at all.

By the way, although the Orioles absolutely cannot look beyond the Rays, there is nonetheless a crucial series looming next weekend between the Orioles and those same Tigers. That one will be in Detroit. The Tigers are 39-28 at home.

The O’s can help themselves, or they can dig the grave for themselves. Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching today. Maybe not a name to inspire confidence, but they won the last game he started when he pitched well against Toronto.

From here on out, if 88 wins will do it, the Orioles just need to win more games than they lose. That’s not so hard, is it? You wouldn’t think so, but they’ve lost more than they won in both July (12-14) and August (13-16). For now they can only take it a game at a time - as long as they win most of the games as they come along.