Good morning, Birdland!
Just a few days ago, there was a feeling of panic among the Orioles faithful. The team had lost four in a row, the offense had hit something of a wall, and the AL East lead was gone. But that now feels like nothing more than a distant memory.
Last night’s 9-5 victory over the defending champion Astros made it four triumphs in a row, including a pair of series-saving wins over the Rays and now two satisfying outcomes in Houston. In that time the offense as gone off as well, scoring 30 total runs in four days. That divisional lead is back up to 2.5 games as a result, and the team also captured the head-to-head tiebreak over the second-place Rays. What a difference a few days make.
There remains plenty to play for in these final 11 games. There is the division, of course, and therefore the AL’s top seed. The Orioles have the inside track there, but they need to see it through.
But in addition to that, there is the shot at the absolute best record in baseball to think about. Right now, that is owned by the Atlanta Braves. At 97-54, they are two full games better than the O’s right now with an equal number of games remaining on the schedule. The Dodgers trail the Orioles’ 95-56 record just slightly with a 93-57 record and a current five-game winning streak.
This only comes into play if/when the Orioles make it to the World Series. Whichever team had the better regular season record gets home field advantage in the series. Of course, regular season record does not guarantee a World Series appearance—as the Phillies proved in 2022—so this whole conversation might not matter much a month from now.
The best strategy as I see it is this: The Orioles should keep winning as many baseball games as they can, and then carry that approach into the postseason. If they do that, they will win the World Series. And yes, I am open and available to all major league manager jobs.
Adam Frazier embracing role as Orioles’ clutch hitter as postseason nears: ‘That’s what I live for’ | The Baltimore Sun
Frazier does always seem calm and cool when it matters most. You can be sure Brandon Hyde will lean on him, Aaron Hicks, and James McCann for their postseason experience.
Orioles Shift Jack Flaherty To Bullpen | MLB Trade Rumors
This needed to happen. Flaherty has struggled as a starter, and the Orioles need to figure out if John Means or Kyle Gibson will get the final spot in their postseason rotation. Plus, if Flaherty is good in this new role that could change the makeup of the relief group as well.
Leftovers for breakfast | Roch Kubatko
The quotes from Flaherty after converting to relief are quite encouraging. I mean, what else is he going to say? But he pitched well and then emanated some good vibes in the post-game. That’s all we want as the postseason approaches.
How clutch are the Baltimore Orioles? And what does it mean for their World Series hopes? | USA Today
The clutch hitting—and therefore, close games—are the reason it has taken all season long for the masses to come around on the Orioles. Was it smoke and mirrors, or are they just this good? When you do it for an entire season, I think you are just good, and that feels impossible to deny at this point.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Steve Lombardozzi turns 35. The Maryland native spent 20 games as a utility option for the O’s in 2014.
- Dave Gallagher is 63 today. He played 23 games in the Orioles outfield during the 1990 season.
- Roric Harrison celebrates his 77th birthday. His big league career started in 1972, a season in which he appeared in 39 games—mostly out of the bullpen—for the Orioles.
This day in O’s history
1958 - Orioles’ knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm no-hits the Yankees in a 1-0 win.
1998 - Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak of consecutive games played comes to an end more than 16 years after it started.
2002 - Mike Bordick plays his 102nd straight game at shortstop without committing an error, a new major league record.