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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles crawled slightly closer in the wild card race

The O’s sit five games back of a playoff spot after winning the opener against their regional rival Nationals.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals
Austin Hays’ double was a line drive in the box score.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Three weeks from today, the Orioles will play their final game of the 2022 regular season. It’s going to require a monumental effort — and a lot of good fortune — for them to move into playoff position by then.

Still, they just have to keep winning every game they possibly can and let the chips fall where they may. And the O’s did what they needed to do last night against the worst team in baseball, securing a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in a brief two-game set between the interleague regional rivals. Mark Brown recapped all the action, a game that didn’t exactly see the O’s bust out of their offensive funk but did feature excellent bullpen work.

The Orioles managed to gain half a game on both the Blue Jays and Rays, who split a doubleheader with each other last night. That pulled the Birds within five games of Tampa Bay for the third wild card spot and 5.5 behind Toronto (and the Seattle Mariners) for the first two spots. It’s a sizable gap and not a lot of time to erase it, but nothing’s impossible.

A nice, 22-game winning streak to end the season would certainly do the trick. After last night, the Orioles are 4.5 percent of the way there.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two ex-Orioles were born on Sept. 14: right-hander Chad Bradford (48) and designated hitter Delmon Young (37), which is of course a fine excuse to watch this clip again. And again and again.

The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2020, when they snapped a six-game losing streak by crushing the Braves, 14-1. Jose Iglesias was a perfect 4-for-4 with his first home run, boosting his season batting average to .370 and OPS to .891. He played only 39 games that year, but still, that was a heck of a campaign for the one-season Oriole. DJ Stewart, Ryan Mountcastle, and Pat Valaika also homered, while Jorge Lopez — yes, that Jorge Lopez — pitched seven innings and gave up just one run.

On this date in 1980, Eddie Murray hit three home runs in one game. Hooray! And yet the Orioles lost. Boo! Murray’s three blasts — including a game-tying shot in the ninth and a go-ahead in the top of the 11th — went for naught in a 4-3 walkoff defeat in Toronto, as the rest of the O’s lineup was a combined 3-for-38.

And on this day in 1987, Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive innings streak of 8,624 came to an end when his dad, Orioles manager Cal Ripken Sr., pulled him in the eighth inning of an 18-3 blowout loss in Toronto. (What is with the O’s always losing in Toronto on this date?). The early exit, of course, did not halt The Iron Man’s consecutive-games streak, which continued for another 11 years.