Down the Stretch (Sept. 22)

Down the Stretch (Sept. 22)

[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

NYY       87-63     --
BAL       86-64     1
TB         81-70    6.5

AL Wild-Card Standings

BAL        86-64      --
OAK       85-65         --
LAA        82-69      3.5
TB          81-70     4.5
DET        79-70     5.5

Today's game

Orioles at Red Sox, 1:10 p.m.

LHP Randy Wolf (5-10, 5.66 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Cook (4-10, 4.93 ERA)


Key matchup

Endy Chavez is 5-for-16 (.313) against Cook, and that's really the only example of one of the players on either team having any sort of extended success against these veteran pitchers.

Other games that matter

Athletics (Blackley) at Yankees (Nova), 1:05 p.m.


Twins (Deduno) at Tigers (Fister), 4:05 p.m.

Blue Jays (Morrow) at Rays (Moore), 7:10 p.m.

White Sox (Quintana) at Angels (Haren), 9:05 p.m.

Rangers (Harrison) at Mariners (Beavan), 9:10 p.m.

Thought of the day

It's pretty clear the Orioles have a great deal of respect for closer Jim Johnson, who broke the club record for saves in a season with his 46th last night. He gets the job done, he doesn't say much, and he's also quite charitable off the field.

He's also an editor's dream, because he works fast and usually takes care of his business in the ninth quite quickly. (I know you folks don't care, but that's always a plus when we're pushing to make deadlines around here.)

Because he isn't the prototypical fiery, quirky, flame-throwing closer, Johnson will never become a major national star, but let's put his season in perspective with the all-time greats.

With four more saves in the final 12 games, which is certainly achievable, he'd move into a tie for 11th on the all-time list of single-season saves leaders with a guy named Mariano Rivera (50 saves in 2001).

Here's the list of the closers who have reached 50, just to give you a sense of the company Johnson would keep if he hits that milestone:

1.    Francisco Rodriguez     62    2008
2.    Bobby Thigpen            57    1990
3.    Eric Gagne                  55    2003
       John Smoltz               55    2002
5.    Trevor Hoffman           53    1998
       Randy Myers               53    1993
       Mariano Rivera            53    2004
8.     Eric Gagne                  52    2002
9.    Rod Beck                     51    1998
       Dennis Eckersley          51    1992
11.    Mariano Rivera           50    2001

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Poll question