With one fell swoop in a Saturday night loss, the Orioles sealed both a losing season and their elimination from the playoffs. Their 9-6 loss to the Rays was the last straw. It’s the 82nd loss of the year and, with the Twins having won earlier in the day, it guaranteed the elimination. It’s official now. The 2017 Orioles are losers.
There are no consolation prizes to ease the sting of that bitter feeling. That’s not to say there were no bright spots at all to the game or to the season. Indeed, it took a five run bottom of the ninth rally for the Orioles to make the score 9-6, and the game ended with the tying run on base despite the fact that the O’s were down by eight runs when the winning started.
That’s not bad. Neither was Trey Mancini extending a hitting streak to thirteen games in a row with a multi-hit night. Nor was Orioles hits leader Jonathan Schoop picking up another couple of hits in the game.
Even Jeremy Hellickson wasn’t bad, although he did take the loss, with a three-run home run being his only blemish in six innings pitched. That’s the kind of blemish that your mom would have told you was fine when you were a teenager, but you knew it really wasn’t fine.
Actually if it wasn’t for other O’s struggles, that would have seemed like a much better outing. The Orioles didn’t score from the first inning until the ninth inning. They gave up two unearned runs in the seventh inning and then got Mike Wrighted in the ninth inning.
With former Oriole Tommy Hunter in the house for the Rays, Wright did his best to go full Tommy Hunter - five runs, all earned - but he came up short, giving up only four runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning. This put the game well out of reach for the O’s, although it also put the game in garbage time, which gave them at-bats against lesser Rays pitchers, against whom they did at last do some damage.
There are six Orioles games left now that they’re eliminated. How will they decide to play out the string? Will Chance Sisco get a chance to start a few games? Are they really going to ride Dylan Bundy all the way to the end? We will start to find out in tomorrow’s 1:35 home finale, where Bundy is scheduled to start against Rays strikeout machine Chris Archer.