Down the Stretch (Sept. 16)

Down the Stretch (Sept. 16)

[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

A's win, knock O's out of first place
Showalter and Melvin both worthy of AL Manager award
Wolf excited to make first start as an Oriole today
Led by Machado, O's defense has improved
'66 World Series photo still in minds of old Orioles
Saturday's full scoreboard

AL East Standings

NYY       82-63     --
BAL       81-64     1
TB         78-67     4

AL Wild-Card Standings

OAK        84-61     --
BAL        81-64        --
LAA        79-67     2.5
TB          78-67      3
DET        77-67     3.5

Tonight's game

Orioles at Athletics, 4:05 p.m.

LHP Randy Wolf (5-10, 5.69 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Straily (2-0, 3.42 ERA)


Key matchup

A's DH Jonny Gomes has absolutely owned Wolf over the years. Gomes, who bats right-handed, is 12-for-22 (.545) against the veteran lefty with two homers and a double. That said, Gomes is one of just three Oakland hitters who have ever faced Wolf.


Other games that matter

Rays (Moore) at Yankees (Kuroda), 1:05 p.m.

Angels (Haren) at Royals (Smith), 2:10 p.m.

White Sox (Peavy) at Twins (Diamond), 2:10 p.m.

Tigers (Porcello) at Indians (Jimenez), 3:05 p.m.

Mariners (Beavan) at Rangers (Harrison), 3:05 p.m.

Thought of the day

On paper, teams shouldn't be afraid of the A's. They don't hit for average or power. Their pitchers have almost no big-game experience.

But if you think the Orioles want to come back out here for a wild-card playoff game, you're crazy.

These A's limit the big inning with their pitching and defense, and they use their spacious ballpark to their advantage (just like the O's make the most of hitter-friendly Camden Yards when they play at home).

I, like many, thought all along that it was only a matter of time before the Oakland faded. Doesn't look like it's going to happen. With their wild-card lead growing and the number of games dwindling, they're projected to have a 96.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason. (In fact, after last night's win, the A's are only two games behind Texas for the NL West lead.)

If a team like the Orioles (or the Yankees or Rays) has to make a cross-country trip from the East Coast for that wild-card playoff, that's going to be a tall task.


Buck Showalter has said all along that the O's are gunning for the division title. After dropping the first two games of this series, the importance of doing that grows even stronger.

Oakland isn't the loudest place to play, and the A's don't have recognizable stars, but this is not a team anybody wants to pay a visit to right now.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Poll question

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