Good morning, Camden Chatters.
As it turns out, the road to the World Series this year ran through Baltimore. But it was the visiting team that did the running.
The Texas Rangers, who swept the Orioles in three games in the Division Series, have completed their journey to the Fall Classic, besting the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS last night to punch their ticket. It marks the Rangers’ first trip to the World Series since their back-to-back losing appearances in 2010-2011, the second of which involved Nelson Cruz’s infamous outfield misplay on what would have been the series-clinching out, instead allowing the Cardinals to tie and eventually win the championship.
A dozen years later, the Rangers now have the opportunity to erase the bitter taste of their last World Series defeat and potentially take home their first title in franchise history. Their opponent will be revealed tonight as the Phillies host the Diamondbacks in a winner-take-all Game 7 of the NLCS. (This has been one heck of a Championship Series round, huh?)
OK, I’ll say it: I’m rooting for the Rangers. To some fans it might be sacrilege to root for the team that beat you, but you can’t say the Rangers didn’t earn their spot. They swept the two best teams in the AL — the Rays and Orioles — and then outlasted the defending champion Astros. And as much as it stung when they beat the Birds, at least they weren’t jerks about it. This isn’t the 2014 Royals we’re talking about. The Rangers, other than Aroldis Chapman, are a perfectly likable group, led by one of baseball’s all-time great managers in Bruce Bochy.
So, yeah, let’s see if you can win the whole shebang, Rangers. And if you do, the Orioles will look forward to knocking you off that throne in 2024.
The RISP stats will be hard to duplicate for the Orioles - Steve Melewski
A key factor in the Orioles’ 101 wins this year was how good they were at hitting with runners in scoring position. If that stat declines next year, we might need to prepare ourselves for a mere 97- or 98-win season. Hard to stomach, I know.
Orioles 2023 offseason questions - Orioles.com
Jake Rill offers five questions facing the O’s this winter, including whether adding veteran players will again be a priority in free agency. Not sure what he means by “again,” since free agency certainly didn’t seem to be a priority for the Orioles last year.
Starters or relievers? Orioles pitchers Tyler Wells, DL Hall enter offseason with questions about future roles - Baltimore Sun
Will Wells and Hall be starters? Relievers? One a starter, one a reliever? Co-closers? Converted to position players? The possibilities are endless.
Could the Cleveland Guardians pry Austin Hays away from Baltimore? - Away Back Gone
This Guardians writer suggests a Hays-for-Shane Bieber swap. I could certainly see the O’s parting with Hays, but Bieber is a year from free agency and his velocity declined last season, so this deal isn’t a no-brainer. What say you, Camden Chatters?
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 64th birthday of Baltimore native, 1989-1991 O’s right-hander, and later MASN analyst Dave Johnson. Other former Orioles born on Oct. 24 are lefty Arthur Rhodes (54) and infielder Omar Quintanilla (42).
Random MLB game of the day
This section would normally be the random Orioles game of the day, but they have never played a game this late into the calendar year. So let’s just pick a year via random number generator and see what baseball game was played on this date.
The number is: 2000. On Oct. 24, 2000, the New York Mets won Game 3 of the Fall Classic against the Yankees, 4-2, in what would prove to be their only victory of the so-called Subway Series. Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, the Mets tied the game on an RBI double by former Oriole Todd Zeile, then broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth on Benny Agbayani’s RBI double and Bubba Trammell’s sac fly. Yankees starter Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez pitched into the eighth inning of that game, throwing 134 pitches. Yeah, I’d say postseason starting pitcher usage has changed quite a bit since then. The Mets used five pitchers, the last of which was former O’s closer Armando Benitez, who pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. A crowd of 55,299 was on hand at Shea Stadium to watch the home team win.