[Back for its second year, "Down the Stretch" is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming night for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]
About last night
Orioles bounce back to take series finale in Toronto, 3-1
Miguel Gonzalez and Nate McLouth hurt in Sunday's win
Notes: Bud Norris reports improvement in elbow
Back-in-black strategy didn't work for O's
Some observations on the upcoming series in Boston
Sunday's full scoreboard
AL East standings
BOS 92-59 --
TB 81-67 9.5
BAL 79-70 12
NYY 79-71 12.5
AL wild-card standings
TEX 81-67 --
TB 81-67 --
CLE 81-68 0.5
BAL 79-70 2.5
NYY 79-71 3
KC 78-71 3.5
(For full standings, click here.)
Off day, series begins in Boston tomorrow at 7:10 p.m.
Today is the Orioles' last scheduled day off of the season -- and their last chance to recuperate mentally and physically before the 13-game stretch that will decide whether 2013 ends in the postseason or before the calendar turns to October.
Other games that matter
Rangers (Garza) at Rays (Cobb), 7:10 p.m.
Indians (Kazmir) at Royals (Shields), 8:10 p.m.
Angels (Wilson) at Athletics (Parker), 10:05 p.m.
Thought of the day
Maybe it's a matter of perspective, but last year you really got the sense the Orioles were battling for a spot in the postseason and earned the final wild-card spot.
This year's race for the final American League playoff positions seems more of a demolition derby in which two cars will be deemed the least damaged after crashing into each other -- and smashing into the wall -- over the final weeks.
Here's a take from Yahoo's Jeff Passan on the carnage: