[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
AL East standings
BOS 89-59 --
TB 79-66 8.5
NYY 79-68 10
BAL 77-69 11
AL wild-card standings
TEX 81-64 --
TB 79-66 --
NYY 79-68 1
CLE 78-68 1.5
BAL 77-69 2.5
KC 77-69 2.5
(For full standings, click here.)
Orioles at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m.
RHP Jason Hammel (7-8, 5.11 ERA) vs. RHP Todd Redmond (3-2, 4.40 ERA)
Redmond was with the Orioles this spring before being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays. He pitched against the Orioles on July 13 and gave up homers to Chris Davis and Adam Jones. Is tonight the night Davis hits No. 50?
Other games that matter
Indians (Salazar) at White Sox (Santiago), 2:10 p.m.
Royals (Duffy) at Tigers (Verlander), 7:08 p.m.
Yankees (Kuroda) at Boston (Lackey), 7:10 p.m.
Athletics (Straily) at Rangers (Holland), 8:05 p.m.
Rays (Archer) at Twins (Correia), 8:10 p.m.
Thought of the day
Upon seeing the bronze broken-bat sculpture that the Orioles gave Mariano Rivera last night, one of my friends (a Yankees fan) texted me to say that he thought it was second-best gift the legendary closer has received on his farewell tour.
I don't think there's any question that the Minnesota Twins' rocking chair of broken bats is the leader in the clubhouse -- and I think that one sort of takes some steam away from the Orioles' idea. (Perhaps that's why Buck Showalter joked before the ceremony that "all the good gifts are gone.")
The sculpture is a fine gesture by the Orioles, but there are at least two other gifts I'd rank higher, at least in terms of creativity:
The Cleveland Indians presented Rivera with a framed gold record of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," Rivera's famous entrance song. With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being in Cleveland, that was a cool touch.
The Tampa Bay Rays also played off Rivera's theme music with a local twist, erecting a large sand sculpture of Rivera's face with the title "Enter Sandman." (That's a neat idea, although I'm not sure Mo was able to take it home with him on the team charter.)
Rivera still has final trips to Boston, Toronto and Houston on the schedule. It'll be interesting to see what the rival Red Sox do this weekend, and I'm also wondering what Houston has planned, considering Rivera has never pitched there in his career.
If you're interested, Newsday has a photo gallery of Rivera's gifts.
Inside the enemy clubhouses
Stat of the day
The Orioles have the same record as the Washington Nationals.