Down the Stretch (Sept. 19)

Down the Stretch (Sept. 19)

[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

BAL       84-64     --
NYY       83-63     --
TB         78-70      6

AL Wild-Card Standings

OAK       84-63      --
BAL        83-64        --
LAA        81-67      3
DET        78-69     5.5
TB          78-70     6

Tonight's game

Orioles at Mariners. 10:10 p.m.

LHP Joe Saunders (8-12, 4.24 ERA) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (13-8, 2.92 ERA)

Key matchup

This would be an odd matchup to work in the Orioles' favor, but Endy Chavez is 6-for-10 in his career against King Felix. The Orioles' other top hitters against Hernandez are Nick Markakis, Jim Thome and Brian Roberts -- but I'm guessing none of them are going to get a hit tonight.

Other games that matter

Blue Jays (Alvarez) at Yankees (Pettitte), 1:05 p.m.

Blue Jays (Romero) at Yankees (Phelps), 7:05 p.m.

Athletics (Anderson) at Tigers (Verlander), 7:05 p.m.

Red Sox (Matsuzaka) at Rays (Archer), 7:10 p.m.

White Sox (Sale) at Royals (Chen), 8:10 p.m.

Rangers (Holland) at Angels (Wilson), 10:05 p.m.

Thought of the day

Preparing for the first-ever one-game wild-card playoff will involve some roster decisions for the teams involved, but the managers in that situation will apparently have some flexability.

Teams – which are allowed to carry 40 players in September – must get down to a normal 25-man roster for the wild-card playoff.


But they'll be allowed to set a new 25-man roster should they advance to the division series.

This, as ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out on his blog yesterday, means managers only need one starter and could load their rosters with extra position players and relievers for that one-game playoff.

For example, let's pretend the Orioles are in that playoff, and they decide Wei-Yin Chen is going to make the start.

Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette then wouldn't necessarily need to place other starters like Chris Tillman, Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez on that roster. Instead, they could use an extra lefty (or two) in the 'pen and carry an extra pinch runner/defensive sub.

It also makes it easier to carry a guy like Jim Thome, who can't play a position.

Of course, the other team involved will have the opportunity to do the same thing, so I don't think it'll give either side an advantage – regardless of which teams make that playoff.

But it's an interesting quirk and one I'm sure Showalter would plan to make the most of.

It might be tougher to determine a 25-man roster for the best-of-five division series, but that's a problem the Orioles would love to have.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Tweet of the night

Adam Jones @SimplyAJ10: The best 0-7 I've ever had lol. Ain't no quit in this team. Fight to the last out is made.

Poll question

Recommended on Baltimore Sun