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Labor Day Bird Droppings: Here comes the most pivotal O’s series in five years

The Orioles, 2.5 games behind Toronto for the final wild card spot, begin a four-game series with the Jays with a doubleheader today. This is the big one, folks.

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

There’s no underselling it. These next three days at Camden Yards could well make or break the Orioles’ 2022 postseason hopes. The O’s haven’t played September games this meaningful in half a decade.

The Toronto Blue Jays, currently 2.5 games ahead of the Orioles for the third and final wild card spot, come to Baltimore today for what promises to be a tense, hard-fought, bare-knuckle brawl, an unforgiving four-game series packed into three days beginning with a doubleheader this afternoon.

The Birds’ costly loss to the Athletics yesterday put them on their heels, but they’re not out of the hunt yet. Still, their margin for error is slim. At this point only a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays would move the O’s into playoff position by the end of the series. But taking three out of four would gain them valuable ground. Anything less than that is going to make it real difficult for the Orioles to close the gap on the Jays in the season’s final weeks.

There’s so much riding on this series, and the Jays will be no easy opponent. But the surprising 2022 Orioles have risen to nearly every challenge they’ve faced this year. Can they do it again?


Orioles lose ground in wild-card race with 5-0 loss to A’s; ‘Massive’ series against Blue Jays begins Monday -
Mike Baumann is joining the Orioles to start one of today’s games, five days before his (and my) birthday. Let’s get this birthday week started on the right foot, Mike!

Adley Rutschman lives up to the hype for surprising Baltimore Orioles - USA Today
It’s USA Today’s turn to notice how good the Orioles have been. Gabe Lacques pegs the O’s as having a “limitless future.” I like the sound of that.

After Turning Down Red Sox, Jud Fabian Envisions ‘Chance To Win Multiple World Series’ With Orioles - PressBox
Apparently even in Low-A, Jud Fabian is getting booed by Red Sox fans for not signing with Boston last year. Here’s hoping he gives Red Sox fans plenty more reasons to boo after he reaches the majors.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 87th birthday to catcher Tom Patton, who appeared in one major league game for the Orioles in 1957. That’s one more than most of us ever will, so kudos to him. Enjoy your day, Mr. Patton. Also celebrating birthdays today are former O’s right-handers Calvin Maduro (48) and Jimmy Haynes (50).

The Orioles’ last win on this date came last year, when they came back from a late-inning deficit to beat the Yankees in New York, 8-7. Trailing 5-2 in the sixth, the O’s collected four runs and six hits off Andrew Heaney to take the lead, and relievers Marcos Diplan, Tanner Scott, and Tyler Wells worked the final three scoreless innings to seal the win. Even after the victory, the Orioles’ record stood at 43-92. Let me repeat that: just one year ago on this date, the Orioles were 43-92. They are now 71-62.

The Orioles also beat the Yankees on this date in 2017, rallying from an early 6-1 deficit thanks to four home runs, capped by Manny Machado’s walkoff, two-run blast in the ninth, his second of the game. The win was the 1,500th of Buck Showalter’s managerial career, and it pulled the Orioles within one game of a wild card spot. How exciting! Except that, the next day, the O’s began a six-game losing streak that knocked them out of playoff contention and under .500 for good.

And on September 5, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. took his place alongside Lou Gehrig, tying the Iron Horse’s incredible consecutive games record at 2,130 (the tie, of course, was short-lived, as Cal dethroned Gehrig the next day). In front of 46,804 raucous fans at Camden Yards — including a 12-year-old me — Cal went 3-for-5 with a home run, one of six O’s dingers in an 8-0 rout of the Angels.