Summer Sale! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Orioles Insider
Sports Orioles Orioles Insider

Sunday may be the most important day facing the Orioles

First, let’s get the procedural out of the way.

The Orioles lead the season series with the Yankees, 9-8 with one game to play Sunday.

If the Orioles win, they’ll take a one game lead in the American League East. But that’s not the most important thing about Sunday’s contest.

If the Yankees and Orioles are tied at the end of the season for the division, there will be a one-game tiebreaker to determine the AL East champion. The winner of the season series – which will be the Orioles if they win Sunday – would host that game. If the season series is tied, then the host city is determined by the team with the better divisional record.
The Orioles currently have a four-game lead over the Yankees in games played within the division, but obviously that’s not set yet. But the Orioles can guarantee home-field advantage in a one-game divisional playoff with the Yankees if they win Sunday.

The same scenario works if the Orioles and Yankees end up tied for the two wild card spots. The Orioles would host the one-game Wild Card playoff against the Yankees if they win Sunday. If they don’t win Sunday, then it will depend on what their division records are.

There are plenty of other machinations depending on various scenarios and multiple teams, but the bottom line is if the Yankees and Orioles tie for the division or the Wild Card, a one-game playoff would be in Baltimore if the Orioles win Sunday. If they lose Sunday, then we won’t know who will host such a game until the division records are final (or one club clinches a better record).

Got it. OK, now to part 2 of Sunday’s importance.

We’ll get a sense with Sunday’s lineup on what life will be like without Nick Markakis in right field and batting first.

The best guess is that Nate McLouth will be the club’s leadoff hitter. He’s done it 281 times in his big-league career and posted a .340 on-base percentage in those games.

Adam Jones might bat third or maybe he’ll stay at cleanup and J.J. Hardy will drop to third.

As for the outfield, McLouth may move from left to right and reserve Lew Ford would probably play the more time in left or right along with Xavier Avery and perhaps a host of others. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Orioles juggled their 40-man roster one more time and brought Endy Chavez back because Chavez is a premium defender.

Again, Sunday should be very interesting.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Orioles in April

    Orioles in April

    Browse pictures of Orioles baseball games in April 2015.

  • Orioles Opening Day at Camden Yards

    Orioles Opening Day at Camden Yards

    Look through photos from Orioles Opening Day festivities at Camden Yards on April 10. The Orioles will face the Toronto Blue Jays in their 62nd home opener in Baltimore. 

  • Orioles player salaries for 2015

    Orioles player salaries for 2015

    With the 2015 baseball season just underway, USA Today has released its annual comprehensive list of player salaries. The publication gathers the data from "documents obtained from the MLB Players Association, club officials and filed with Major League Baseball's central office. Deferred payments...

  • All-Time Greatest Orioles

    All-Time Greatest Orioles

    In the six decades since they returned to the American League, 982 players have suited up for the Orioles. Who are the all-time best? Here are The Baltimore Sun's picks — six men at each position, except outfield and starting pitcher (nine apiece). We ranked the top six managers, too, from 1954...

  • Orioles Season Preview 2015

    Orioles Season Preview 2015

  • Orioles Insider

    Orioles Insider