The strange 2020 regular season comes to an end today, the same day the regular season would have ended if nothing out of the ordinary had happened with the 2020 schedule. For the Orioles, the stakes are low. They will either win their 25th game or lose their 36th game. They do not have the opportunity to knock their final game’s opponent, the Blue Jays, out of the postseason, like they did to the Red Sox in 2011.
That’s not to say the game will have no impact at all. The Blue Jays have the opportunity to improve their playoff seed with a win and a Yankees loss. That would give the two teams identical 33-27 records. The first tiebreaker for 2020 is head-to-head record. The Yankees and Jays went 5-5 against one another. So it’d go to a second tiebreaker, where the Jays would hold the edge, if they win and the Yankees lose. This would make the Yankees the #8 seed.
The excitement is in the NL, where four teams are competing for two playoff spots on the final day, and depending on how the results shake out, this could lead to the Cardinals having to make up two missed games in a doubleheader tomorrow to settle the standings. That would sure be very 2020. The maximum chaos scenario requires Brewers and Giants wins today.
Our favorite baseball team doesn’t have much to do with that. It’s going to be smaller stuff like whether Keegan Akin can look good in his final start to carry something into the offseason, or whether any of the several late-season slumpers like Pedro Severino, Hanser Alberto, and Rio Ruiz can bust out, at least for one day. There are any number of things that could happen where it would still feel good for the future even if the O’s on the field lose today.
Here’s the lineup that will be trying to pull that off:
- Austin Hays - LF
- DJ Stewart - RF
- Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
- Renato Nunez - DH
- Rio Ruiz - 3B
- Hanser Alberto - 2B
- Chance Sisco - C
- Pat Valaika - SS
- Cedric Mullins - CF
The next scheduled Orioles game is more than six months from today. The 2021 season is set to begin on April 1. Even assuming nothing crazy happens to impact that schedule the way 2020’s was, that’s a long time to go with no O’s baseball, so hopefully they give us a fun game to send us off into the offseason.