There's nothing left for the Orioles to play for now but pride and perhaps, for some, a place either on the O's or elsewhere in MLB next season. They can't spoil anything for anyone except draft pick position. They just have some baseball games with no real stakes left to play.
Tonight's O's lineup makes clear that they have finally reached the point where they know it's over. There's not a home crowd left to put on a show for. There are no more dim playoff hopes to pay lip service to. There's only a lineup that doesn't include any of Adam Jones, Tim Beckham, Welington Castillo, and Mark Trumbo.
Jones and Beckham are clearly battling some injury problems. There is no point in pushing them. Castillo is probably on the bench because, hey, it's time to give Chance Sisco a little audition now that hope is gone. Trumbo has a .688 OPS so nobody should really care why he's not playing, just enjoy the fact that he's not.
We will probably be watching the final Kevin Gausman start of the year here tonight. As a bonus for Gausman, the game is in Pittsburgh, meaning the National League's joke ruleset is in effect and he will get to bat. I don't think that's actually a bonus for Gausman, or indeed for anyone who knows what is the only correct way to play baseball.
In the aggregate, this year must be seen as a disappointment for Gausman. However, his second half ERA of 3.09 is something positive to carry forward into next season, so hopefully he can finish strong to take that good feeling into the offseason.
The Pirates haven't put out a lineup at the time I'm sitting down to write this post, but here's the Orioles starting nine.
- Austin Hays - CF
- Jonathan Schoop - 2B
- Manny Machado - 3B
- Chris Davis - 1B
- Trey Mancini - LF
- Chance Sisco - C
- J.J. Hardy - SS
- Anthony Santander - RF
- Kevin Gausman - P