83-79! No one could have possibly believed this was possible for the Orioles before the season started back in April, or even at the end of May when the team was 21-30. They played great for three months anyway, and they ended up where they ended up. This was a fun year, even though it is kind of annoying that our last regular season taste of the Orioles until March 30, 2023 was a stupid loss. Check out Tyler Young’s recap of yesterday’s doubleheader for some lovely totals and some that weren’t as lovely.
When all was said and done, the Orioles finished three games back of the Rays in the standings for the third wild card spot. If the O’s had three more wins and one of those wins came against the Rays (flipping the tiebreaker to the O’s), they would have been in. That’s close enough where if someone wants to, they can pick through all the frustrating losses, especially ones that seemed to have suboptimal lineup choices for no publicly known reason, and wonder what might have been. It wouldn’t have taken much. One of them was yesterday: Imagine if Cionel Pérez had only successfully thrown the ball to second base!
After three straight full seasons with 100+ losses and four seasons in a row with the O’s picking in the top 5 of the draft, I’m trying not to spend too much time agonizing over that kind of stuff. This season was a “playing with house money” kind of season if ever there was one.
Even if you had tried to imagine a good Orioles season back in spring training, the only thing that came true from that is that Adley Rutschman arrived and was amazing. John Means got hurt early. Grayson Rodriguez got hurt before he could debut. Cedric Mullins didn’t come close to repeating 30/30, or even that close to 20/20. Assumed closer Cole Sulser was traded days before the season started.
That’s what really makes this team amazing for me, and what puts it in a group with the 2012 wild card team, even if these O’s obviously came up short. They found their own path to something that for them, and for all of us watching them, was a wild success. And hopefully it was the precursor to something even better. Once the hot stove season gets under way, I’ll be very interested to see what kind of moves that Mike Elias makes and what he doesn’t make for 2023.
What internal options could potentially be upgrades? Which of these will be ready to step right in on Opening Day and which might need to arrive in June or later? Will some of the prospects be used as trade bait to improve the MLB roster? Are any of the existing MLBers going to be shipped off to make room for prospects who the team hopes has a higher ceiling? Could the Orioles actually... sign an impact free agent? Those are the big questions.
We’ve got about a month before any of them might start to be answered, during which time 12 teams will be playing their way towards crowning one World Series champion. Rays-Guardians will launch us into the postseason around noon on Friday and things will go from there. All four wild card best-of-three series will be in action on Friday and Saturday, and any of them that makes it to three games will be played on Sunday. Soak in as much as you can before the baseball-less winter descends upon us again. At least this year there’s no lockout angst.
Around the blogO’sphere
Elias: “I feel like this team is officially in the fight in the American League East” (School of Roch)
Much like a couple of months ago, when Mike Elias said “it’s liftoff from here,” it’s exciting to have the GM saying stuff like this after a few years of “you have to look at the big picture” in response to bad teams. All of those questions above will be answered as Elias does whatever he’s going to do this offseason to keep the Orioles in the fight.
Orioles honor minor league award winners Westburg, Watson (Orioles.com)
Before yesterday’s doubleheader, the team presented its minor league awards to Jordan Westburg and Ryan Watson, as well as Aberdeen manager Roberto Mercado and California-based scout Scott Walter.
Orioles minor league roundup: How the baby birds fared down on the farm (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly scans through the top position player and pitching performer at each of the four full season affiliates, with some thoughts from director of player development Matt Blood on things that went right and things he’ll be looking for next year.
40 years ago, the Orioles’ magical comeback came up short. It set the stage for the 1983 World Series title. (The Baltimore Sun)
Can the end of one season mark the prelude to something even better the next year? We know more recently that Game 162 in 2011 felt like it helped fuel the 2012 run. There is a more distant example as well.
Even though the Orioles lost yesterday, fans who stayed to the end of the season-ending doubleheader gave them a nice ovation after the game ended. Members of the team and coaches stepped out to acknowledge the crowd. It felt good to be a part of this. I also hope this is the prelude to something even better next year.
Orioles fans gave the team a proper send-off after the final out of the season. pic.twitter.com/Ut3GHkbcL5— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) October 5, 2022
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1966, Jim Palmer beat Sandy Koufax in the World Series by pitching a complete game shutout, with the Orioles 6-0 victory giving them a 2-0 edge over the Dodgers as the series headed from LA to Baltimore.
In 1979, Scott McGregor went the distance as well in an 8-0 shutout of the Angels in Game 4 of the ALCS, which gave the Orioles the series win and a trip to the World Series.
In 1983, it was Mike Boddicker who pitched the CGSO, striking out 14 White Sox in a 4-0 victory that knotted that year’s ALCS at a game apiece.
There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2019 two-game pitcher Matt Wotherspoon, 2007-09 pitcher Radhames Liz, 2013 pitcher Freddy Garcia, 1990 hitter Greg Walker, and 1956 outfielder Joe Frazier.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: engineer George Westinghouse (1846), actress Elisabeth Shue (1963), and social media maven Addison Rae (2000).
On this day in history...
In 1600, the opera Euridice, a telling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, premiered in Florence. Composer Jacopo Peri performed the main role of Orfeo. It’s a noteworthy performance because Euridice is the oldest surviving opera.
In 1927, a movie called The Jazz Singer premiered. The film holds the distinction of being the first significant “talkie” to be released, leading to a rapid end of the silent film era.
In 1979, then-pope John Paul II paid a visit to the White House. He was the first pope to do so.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 6. Have a safe Thursday.