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Sunday Bird Droppings: The Orioles could clinch a postseason spot with a win today

More importantly, they can return to a two-game lead over the Rays if they split this series

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Smiles have been rare in Brandon Hyde’s managerial tenure, until this year.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief thanks to last night’s Orioles triumph over the Rays. The absolute worst-case scenario of this weekend was avoided in a victory that finally saw an O’s starting pitcher have a deep outing and also saw a largely-dormant O’s offense from this week break out in a big way. The result was an 8-0 win that guarantees the head-to-head tiebreaker for the Orioles over the Rays, if that matters as the last two weeks of the season play out.

Check out my recap of the game for more of the lovely totals. Among the highlights were the first Orioles hit in the first inning in eight days and the first Orioles first inning run in nearly two weeks. Oh yeah, and this guy Gunnar Henderson, you might have heard of him, delivered an emphatic two-run home run to really get an already-fired-up crowd rocking even more. It was a fun one.

On top of the Orioles breaking out of four days of malaise, Saturday also saw the Rangers fall to the Guardians, 2-1. In the complicated set of scenarios required for the Orioles to formally clinch a wild card spot, either a Rangers or Mariners loss was sufficient to peel off one from the magic number. The O’s “clinch anything” number was 3 before yesterday’s games and now it’s down to 1.

Win today and the O’s are headed to the postseason, guaranteed, with only seeding still to be settled. Beating the Rays would also help them move towards settling their seeding, because it would restore the two-game lead that the O’s brought into this series, with the tiebreaker now also in hand.

The Rays have 12 games left to play, counting today. If they won every one of those games, they would finish with 104 wins. The Orioles, who have 14 games still to play, counting today, would need to go at least 12-2 to equal 104 wins if the Rays won out. That’s a division magic number of 12. Every Rays loss would make it a little easier. So would every Orioles win.

If the O’s can split the series today, they’d have a magic number of 10 to go with their two game lead. With the Astros awaiting the Orioles next, while the Rays go home to face the Angels, taking the two-game lead out of the current series feels even more important. Even less than most of the Rays opponents lately, you can’t count on the Angels to do anything to help.

Dean Kremer is starting this crucial 1:35 game for the Orioles. Let’s hope he looks more like Rodriguez from last night than Jack Flaherty from Friday night. We’d also settle for Kyle Bradish’s first six innings from Thursday, provided that the O’s offense does not end up making Saturday’s offensive outburst look like a one-night-only engagement.

Around the blogO’sphere

Baumann on his return to the Orioles bullpen (Steve Melewski)
The revolving door at the back of the Orioles bullpen continued before yesterday’s game, with Bryan Baker getting sent down after one appearance and Mike Baumann returning. Baumann, if you can believe it, is excited to be back.

Notes on Means, Bautista, Mountcastle, and more (School of Roch)
Roch delivered some updates about injured and recently-injured Orioles before yesterday’s game, including that John Means is on track to make his next start and Félix Bautista increased the distance at which he’s throwing.

Today in quotes that might make you want to run through a brick wall:

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1970, the Orioles clinched the American League East title. The O’s themselves lost this day, but the Yankees also lost, leaving the O’s with a 13.5 game lead with 13 games remaining. The 70 O’s ultimately led by 15 games with 108 wins, a franchise record.

There is one lone former Oriole who was born on this day. Wayne Krenchicki, an infielder who played in 58 games from 1979-81 for the O’s, was born today in 1954. He passed away in 2018 at age 64.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Wild West gunman Billy the Kid (1859), country musician Hank Williams (1923), novelist Ken Kesey (1935), Hall of Fame basketball coach Phil Jackson (1945), voice actor for Mario Charles Martinet (1955), and current NFL star Patrick Mahomes (1995).

On this day in history...

In 1631, Sweden defeated the Holy Roman Empire in the Battle of Breitenfeld near modern-day Leipzig. This victory in the Thirty Years’ War in which Swedish forces used combined arms tactics is recognized as part of the legend that has made Sweden’s king Gustavus Adolphus among history’s great military commanders.

In 1787, the Constitution of the United States was signed in Philadelphia.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the single bloodiest day in American military history occurred as the Union and Confederacy fought the Battle of Antietam, which saw more than 22,000 killed, wounded, or missing from the battle - over 3,600 fatalities. The Union held the field while suffering worse losses, and General McClellan was soon replaced by President Lincoln for not having pursued the retreating Confederates.

In 1944, during World War II, the Allies launched the Operation Market Garden offensive that aimed to create an invasion route into northern Germany. Over 40,000 paratroopers were dropped behind German lines to secure bridge crossings for a ground advance. Parts of the Netherlands were liberated by the operation, but the ultimate objective of capturing the bridge over the Rhine in Arnhem was not achieved.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 17. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!