Do you think a new record was just set last night for “most agonizing Orioles win of 2023”? Writing this in the immediate aftermath of watching what turned out to be a 13-12 donnybrook in Boston where they stayed on their feet in the end against the Red Sox, it certainly feels like that must have been the most agonizing, but that could just be recency bias talking.
One thing that is certain, according to the stats queen Sarah Langs, is that no team has won a nine-inning game in which it allowed 23 or more hits since 1930. The Orioles just did something that had not happened in 93 years. There was absolutely no reason for it to turn out that way after the O’s had a 12-6 lead, or for that matter a 7-2 lead, but it ended with the tying run on third base and the go-ahead run on base anyway.
This time, unlike the second game of the season, the left fielder caught the can of corn to end the game. Check out Alex Church’s recap of the game for more on the nuttiness.
Setting aside the anxious innings, the fact remains that this was the 90th Orioles win of the season. They have now won more games than all but three Orioles teams starting after their last World Series title, and are at 90+ wins for just the third time in the 21st century. There are 21 games left to be played! If the O’s continue on at their current pace, they would finish at 103 wins. They only need to go 10-11 from here in order to become the first 100+ Orioles win team since 1980 and the first O’s team managed by someone other than Earl Weaver to achieve this.
With Saturday’s win, the Orioles reduced the magic number to clinch the division down to 17. Unfortunately for the O’s, it’s not any lower than that because the Mariners blew a 4-1 lead to the Rays and ultimately lost by a 7-5 margin after a walkoff home run in the ninth inning. No help there. The Orioles division lead holds at four games. They might be lucky to hold it to four games before they get the opportunity to take care of business themselves.
For a number of people who’ve watched Jack Flaherty in action over the last month and especially last night, the only question worth asking is when will he get kicked out of the Orioles rotation? It must be said that his failure to complete even four innings set into motion the chain reaction that put a lot of other people into situations that had wacky outcomes. He has generated only negative value since arriving, and outside of his first game here, has not done anything to make you believe it will go differently.
That is not the most important thing to consider today. Flaherty isn’t the problem for another five or more days. Since the Orioles can’t count on the Mariners doing any work for them, they need to find a way to come in and finish the sweep of Boston in this afternoon’s game. It would be their eighth straight win if they could do that. It’s not going to be easy, because although Grayson Rodriguez is bringing his excellent second half to the start, Red Sox pitcher Brayan Bello is bringing an excellent entire season to the game. Unless weather gets involved again, the game is set for a 1:35 start.
Dedicated scoreboard watchers: The Rays-Mariners contest gets under way at 1:10. Bryce Miller (3.83 ERA) starts for Seattle, with Zach Eflin (3.47 ERA) pitching for Tampa. Relevant to the Orioles “clinch anything” magic number (which stands at six) is a 2:35 game between the Athletics and Rangers. A Texas loss would also reduce that magic number to guarantee at least the third wild card spot. It’s pretty awesome that this feels like a hum-drum accomplishment that’s barely worth celebrating right now. That’s how awesome the first 141 games of this season have gone, even if the 141st was a nerve-wracker.
Around the blogO’sphere
Means ‘feels good’ after bullpen session (Orioles.com)
Before yesterday’s game, John Means cleared the final little hurdle towards rejoining the team with a bullpen session in Fenway.
Means’s imminent return, Orioles rotation shakeup? (Press Box Online)
As of just now, the Orioles haven’t made a commitment as to how Means will be used. Anyone who watched Flaherty pitch last night is probably pushed towards wanting to see Means in the rotation instead of Flaherty.
Breaking down the hottest topics on the Orioles farm (Orioles.com)
Three hot topics and Samuel Basallo isn’t even one of them!
Jordan Westburg exited yesterday’s game early and it wasn’t just to rest someone in a blowout. Here’s what manager Brandon Hyde said about that after the game:
Hyde said he hopes Westburg is available tomorrow. Said everyone has “little things” #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) September 10, 2023
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
One year ago today, the Orioles were stomped by the Red Sox, 17-4. No repeats! If the Orioles want to go ahead and score 17 runs today, though, that’s allowed.
There is one player on the Orioles 40-man roster with a birthday today. Happy 28th to Mike Baumann. Former Orioles who were also born today: 2011 outfielder Matt Angle, and 2007/09 reliever Danys Báez.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: voodoo figure Marie Laveau (1801), baseball Hall of Famer George Kelly (1895), golf legend Arnold Palmer (1929), Game Boy inventor Gunpei Yokoi (1941), director Chris Columbus (1958), baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (1963), and ballerina Misty Copeland (1982).
On this day in history...
In 1547, the English and Scots fought the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, a victory for the English in a conflict that’s been dubbed the “Rough Wooing.” This was the last large-scale military battle between the two now-unified countries.
In 1813, the American navy dealt a defeat to the British on Lake Erie in the Battle of Put-in Bay, with the American force led by Oliver Hazard Perry capturing all six British ships it engaged in battle.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 10. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!