Baltimore Orioles beat writer Jon Meoli talks about Orioles manager Buck Showalter's decision to not use closer Zach Britton in a save situation. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The fact that Orioles closer Zach Britton didn't pitch in the team's 5-2, 11-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Tuesday's wild-card playoff game will be held up as the defining moment of a season that's now over.
Britton, famously, was 47 for 47 in save opportunities this season, with a league-best 0.54 ERA, which is the lowest of any reliever who has thrown at least 60 innings in baseball history.
But one thing he didn't do often this season was enter tie games on the road. He did that just once this season -- on July 31, when he pitched the ninth and 10th innings in Toronto to help the Orioles salvage a win at the end of a three-game series.
Britton posted two zeros, and the Orioles eventually won, 6-2, in 12 innings.
For a postseason story that's yet to run, I asked Britton on Sept. 24 what would be his proverbial Oscar-reel -- if he wanted someone to see the highlights of his season ahead of the Cy Young voting, what would he pick?
Britton mentioned a few saves in Boston -- a five-out save on June 14, plus his Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 saves at Fenway Park -- but singled out another as his proudest.
"One of the outings I was probably the most proud of was in Toronto," Britton said. "I think I did two innings in that extra-inning game that we had there that day. We got beat twice there, and it kind of was a big win for us, taking one of those games. It wasn't even a save, it was more just an outing where getting two innings against that team right there, and maybe three or four innings later, we ended up winning. It was one of the ones I was most proud of."
I'll leave the here-and-now explanations as to why he didn't get a chance to replicate that to the hard-working souls in Toronto. It's clear that Britton values those tough outings on the road, though, and he didn't get a chance to do that Tuesday.