The magic number is down to 1. Tonight could be the night the Orioles clinch the AL East. Last night had the potential to be the night too, but the Red Sox offered no help as they were beaten by the Rays, 5-0. The Orioles took care of their own business, finishing a short but sweet two-game sweep of the Nationals to reduce the number to 1. One win in their remaining four games and the Orioles clinch. One Rays loss in their remaining three games and the Orioles clinch.
Wednesday’s win over the Nationals was the 99th Orioles win of the season. It is a number of wins that is almost unfathomable. This is the Orioles who’ve done this! It’s the best Orioles regular season record going back to the 1980 team that won 100. If you’re 42 years old or younger, these guys are the best O’s team there’s been in a season for as long as you’ve been alive.
As noted by baseball stats queen Sarah Langs, this is now the fifth time ever that the Orioles have been 40 games or more above .500. The other Orioles seasons that saw this happen: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979. I don’t think anyone needs me to spell out what those years have in common with one another in terms of O’s success. We’ll see over the next few weeks whether the 2023 O’s can keep that feature in common for this list.
You’ve only clinched when you’ve clinched, and as far as the division goes, the magic number of 1 means they haven’t done it yet. That number being 1 feels even closer when I read about the Rays doing something like this:
#Rays are having a full champagne celebration in the clubhouse, an acknowledgment to the success of the season thus far— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 28, 2023
More than anything else, this tells me that the Rays know it’s not happening. As you may recall, back on the day that the Orioles and Rays both clinched a wild card spot, the game ended with an Orioles walkoff victory and the Orioles were the ones to pop the champagne bottles and pour the beer. If the Rays had won instead, it seemed the Rays were prepared for that.
The way that things have played out in the week and a half since that, it doesn’t look like the Rays will be clinching anything else. So they just... decided to spray around champagne for fun? It seems like big loser energy to me, to do that on a night where you didn’t even clinch anything. I hope the Orioles make it official and do their own, second champagne celebration here in Baltimore tonight.
The Orioles will look to Dean Kremer to do better than he’s done lately to help them get the clincher in the series opener against Boston. Kremer hasn’t gone more than five innings in the month of September. Pitching for the Red Sox in the 6:35 game is Chris Sale. The O’s socked Sale for seven runs (six earned) in four innings when they faced him in Fenway earlier this month, a 13-12 slobberknocker that finished with the Orioles still standing.
Around the blogO’sphere
Fans around Birdland reflect on the loss of a legend (Steve Melewski)
Brooks was so beloved because he was a phenomenal person on top of being an incredibly gifted athlete who played his whole career here. No one has a bad Brooks Robinson story, except maybe if you were on the wrong end of his defensive plays.
An assist from Brooks that didn’t make the record books (Baltimore Baseball)
What else can you even say? He was one of a kind.
I didn’t really know Brooks Robinson. But he changed my life. (The Baltimore Banner)
A personal recollection of Brooks from the mother of a young Baltimore Brooks who is, of course, named after the legend.
Orioles notes on Ryan Mountcastle’s return, O’Hearn’s value, McKenna’s latest departure (School of Roch)
Mountcastle spent the minimum number of days on the injured list after all, with Ryan McKenna getting optioned out as Mountcastle returned. It’s tough being on the fringe of the roster.
It’s been decades since an Orioles starter had a season like Kyle Bradish’s. (The Baltimore Banner)
You have to go back 31 years to Mike Mussina in 1992 to find something like this. Whatever Game 1 he pitches, that should give the Orioles a nice boost in their chance of winning that game.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1953, owners of other American League teams approved the move of the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore, where the team then became the Orioles franchise.
In 1971, the Orioles finished their season by sweeping a doubleheader against the Red Sox, winning the games by 10-2 and 5-4 scores. These were wins number 100 and 101 for the year, making the O’s just the third-ever team to win 100+ in three straight seasons. The team won 109 in 1969 and 108 in 1970.
In 2011, the Orioles played their part in the game 162 magic with a walkoff win capped by Robert Andino helping to eliminate the Red Sox from the postseason on the final day. If you believe this was the prologue to the 2012 season, I don’t think you’re wrong.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2004 reliever Mike DeJean, 1991-93 reliever Todd Frohwirth, and 1971-76 pitcher Grant Jackson. Jackson passed away in 2021 at age 78.
On this day in history...
In 1066, William of Normandy, later styled the Conqueror, arrived with his army in England.
In 1781, the American Continental Army and French Army began a siege of Yorktown, which three weeks later surrendered and effectively ended the War of Independence.
In 1928, biologist Alexander Fleming made the discovery of the bacteria-killing mold penicillin.
In 1941, Ted Williams finished the season with a batting average of .406. This is still the most recent occasion of a player batting over .400 for a full season. Entering Wednesday, the league leader for batting average in 2023 was Miami’s Luis Arraez at .353.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 28. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!