clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ AL East lead continues to grow

The Orioles built their division lead to four full games without lifting a finger last night, thanks to a Rays loss.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles got to enjoy a day off last night, and they increased their division lead in the process. Not too shabby!

Thanks to the Rays’ 1-0 loss to the Mariners, the Orioles now sit four full games in front of Tampa Bay in the AL East. Their magic number to win the division is down to 19. Their magic number to clinch a postseason spot is a mere 10. The O’s, with a series win in Boston this weekend, could reach the 90-win mark by the time they return to Baltimore on Monday. It’s just crazy to think about. As someone who predicted the Birds to win just 82 games all season, I didn’t see any of this coming. I’ve never been happier to be wrong.

For the next three days, the O’s have a chance to fully bury Boston’s flickering hopes in the AL wild card race. The Red Sox sit five games behind Toronto for the third and final spot. Tampa Bay will continue its four game series against Seattle, a team that’s battling for first place in the AL West.

If all goes well, the Orioles can open up some more space between themselves and Tampa Bay before they host the Rays for a crucial four-game set next weekend. It’d be nice to have some wiggle room if the worst case scenario comes to pass in that series — not that there’s any reason to think that it will. The O’s have handled their business all year long. What’s three more weeks?


The Orioles are MLB’s unconventional World Series contender - Sports Illustrated
One note from Tom Verducci’s synopsis of the dominant Orioles: they have the second-best OPS in team history with runners in scoring position. (The best was, randomly, the 1985 club, who finished just five games over .500.)

Orioles’ ‘deep’ bench working to master the art of pinch hitting ahead of playoffs: ‘Every man on this roster is important’
One of the keys to the Orioles’ success is that their bench consists of quality, major league caliber players instead of mediocre riffraff who weren't good enough to be starters. It’s no wonder the O’s are so good at pulling off late-inning rallies.

Awards season should be a busy one for Orioles -
Rich Dubroff wonders if Félix Bautista could win AL Reliever of the Year even with his season cut short by injury. It’s been two weeks since Félix last pitched and his WAR is still a full 1.0 higher than the next closest AL reliever, so he’s certainly got a shot.

McKenna playing major role off bench, Means close to rejoining Orioles - School of Roch
John Means will be coming off the IL today, and while the O’s haven’t specifically stated what his role will be, the fact that they bumped Cole Irvin back to the bullpen may have already answered that question. I’ll give you even money that Means starts against the Cardinals next week.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Five former Orioles were born on this day: catchers Nick Hundley (40) and Al Pardo (61); All-Star reliever Don Aase (69); the late lefty and Mt. St. Joseph and University of Maryland alum Lou Sleater (b. 1926, d. 2013); and the late righty George Werley (b. 1938, d. 2013), whose entire MLB career consisted of one game as an 18-year-old in 1956.

On this date in 2012, during a pivotal series with the Yankees, the Orioles picked up a huge 5-4 win to pull into a first-place tie with New York. Unfortunately, they suffered a huge loss, too — specifically, Nick Markakis, who suffered a season-ending injury on a CC Sabathia fastball that broke his hand. It was a terrible turn of events for Markakis, who had played his entire career to that point for lousy O’s teams and now wouldn’t get to participate in the club’s return to the postseason.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Sept. 8, 2011, the Orioles, again playing the Yankees, enjoyed a 5-4, walkoff win in 10 innings at Camden Yards. Robert Andino, who spent most of that month destroying the Red Sox, decided to torment the Yankees as well, hitting a walkoff single against reliever Scott Proctor. Chris Davis — playing third base! — went 3-for-4 out of the number eight spot, and Vladimir Guerrero hit what turned out to be the next-to-last home run of his Hall of Fame career (his 448th of 449). Vlad was a triple shy of the cycle. After O’s starter Alfredo Simon issued six walks in four innings, five relievers combined for six scoreless innings.