Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Race Tightens for the Orioles

The Orioles split their double header against the Jays yesterday, lost a half a game against the Yankees but saw no real movement in the wild card. As the season winds down every single game matters with the Rays and Angels knocking on the door of the playoffs with both teams within four games of the Birds with eight games remaining. The Orioles are still in the driver's seat of their playoff destiny but with every game carrying so much weight Baltimore is in a tizzy as it deals with emotions the fans simply haven't had to deal with in a very long time.

The Orioles' loss yesterday, as frustrating as it was, has sent many fans into a bit of a defcon-3 frenzy. The Orioles sit only 1.5 games behind the division-leading Yankees but many fans now see that as an insurmountable feat. Meanwhile, even though the Orioles' playoff cushion is currently three times the size of that gap, scenarios are being devised that see the Orioles missing the playoffs in a sort of 1989 "Why Not?" heartbreak.

As I type this entry the Orioles' bats have been silenced thus far by the Blue Jays, a stark contrast from the last couple of days and an equally stark reminder that on any night anything can happen.

An Orioles' loss tonight could result in their lead in the wild card being reduced to half a game over the A's with the Angels and Rays sitting two and three games back respectively, with seven games left to play. It certainly would make the Orioles' job a bit more difficult and the last week's worth of games would be insanley tense but still in a very solid position.

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The Orioles' aggressive approach in the early innings was not an anomaly. They have made a habit of trying to attack opposing pitchers early in the count, but usually tend to get more selective as the game goes on.

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