Good morning, Camden Chatters.
A week and a half ago, the Orioles played their most pivotal series in five years, a four-game set against the Blue Jays in which they entered 2.5 games back of a playoff spot. Alas, the series did not go the Orioles’ way, with Toronto taking three of four to widen the gap between the Blue Jays and the Birds.
Tonight, the Orioles get another crack at the Jays, though there’s not quite the same intensity this time around. For one thing, the Birds have no chance of finishing the series in playoff position even with a sweep, the way they would have if they’d swept that last series. For another, the Blue Jays aren’t even the closest team to the Orioles in the standings anymore, having leapfrogged the Rays by half a game.
The Jays and Rays just completed a five-game series in which Toronto won three of five, which was pretty much the worst possible result for the Orioles. If the Rays had swept the set, or won four out of five, then the Blue Jays would be ripe for the Orioles’ picking this weekend. If the Blue Jays had swept, or won four out of five, then the Rays would be within shouting distance of the Orioles. But by essentially splitting, both teams remained comfortably ahead of the Birds. The Blue Jays, tied with Seattle for the first wild card spot, are five games up on the Orioles. The Rays are 4.5 ahead for the third wild card spot (and essentially 5.5 ahead, because the Rays also hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Birds if the two clubs end up tied).
It’s a tough mountain to climb, but the O’s could make major progress on that trek if they can pull off an improbable sweep of the Jays this weekend. Anything less than that might make the journey all but impossible.
The Orioles are nearing a record turnaround. Brandon Hyde’s players believe he should be AL Manager of the Year. - The Baltimore Sun
If leading a team that was expected to lose 110+ games to a (probable) winning record doesn’t earn you Manager of the Year, then there’s no reason for the award to exist. Make the right decision, voters.
Connolly: It’s not really a rivalry, but Nationals have shown Orioles what’s possible - The Athletic
Dan Connolly wonders whether the Orioles could follow a Nationals-style path to a world championship. Sure, as long as they don’t follow it up with a Nationals-style path to being the worst team in baseball.
Is there time left for Rodriguez to enter Orioles rotation? - School of Roch
Eh, there’s no reason to risk an injury recurrence by trying to rush Grayson to the majors before the season ends. Put him in the Opening Day rotation in 2023 and we’ll go from there.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Four ex-Orioles were born on this day, including Hall of Famer Tim Raines (63), who played four games for the 2001 Birds alongside his son, Tim Raines Jr. (To be clear, that’s not why he’s in the Hall of Fame. He had a pretty good career elsewhere.) Also celebrating Sept. 16 birthdays are right-hander Paul Shuey (52) and catchers Mark Parent (61) and Mickey “Froot Loops” Tettleton (62).
The Orioles’ last win on this date came just last year, and it was a wacky one. The Birds, down by one run to the Yankees with two outs and two strikes in the ninth, tied the game on a Gary Sanchez passed ball, then won it in the 10th on Austin Hays’ walkoff single. The O’s win — their eighth in 19 games against New York that year — temporarily knocked the Yankees out of a postseason spot, though they later recovered to claim a wild card berth.
On this day in 2012, the O’s officially snapped their brutal 14-year streak of losing seasons, securing their 82nd win with a 9-5 defeat of Oakland. Matt Wieters crushed two home runs off A’s right-hander and future Oriole Dan Straily, while Endy Chavez (!) went 4-for-4 with a double. Six Orioles pitchers combined to hold on to the big lead.
And today is the eight-year anniversary of one of the most unforgettable nights in Camden Yards history, as the Orioles clinched the AL East for the first time since 1997. Struggling starter Ubaldo Jimenez, of all people, got the win in the clincher with a solid five-inning performance, while early homers by Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes helped the O’s cruise to an 8-2 decision in front of a raucous crowd of 35,297.