Down the Stretch (Sept. 29)

Down the Stretch (Sept. 29)

[Down the stretch is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming day for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]

About last night


AL East Standings

NYY       91-66     --
BAL       90-67     1
TB         86-71     5

AL Wild-Card Standings

BAL          90-67      --
OAK         89-68         --
LAA          87-70       2
TB            86-71      3

Today's game

Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m.

LHP Felix Doubront (11-9, 4.91 ERA) vs. RHP Steve Johnson (4-0, 1.62 ERA)


Key matchup

Doubront has pitched well against the Orioles, and he allowed just one run in seven innings in their meeting Sunday. Chris Davis has the best numbers against him, going 2-for-5 with a double this season (3-for-8 over their careers).

Other games that matter

Yankees (Pettitte) at Blue Jays (Romero), 1:07 p.m.

Rays (Moore) at White Sox (Sale), 4:05 p.m.

Tigers (Verlander) at Twins (Walters), 4:05 p.m.

Mariners (Vargas) at Athletics (Straily), 4:05 p.m.

Angels (Santana) at Rangers (Holland), 4:05 p.m.

Thought of the day

OK, we've reached the point where we can start talking about the Orioles' clinching scenarios without making your head explode (too much).

With the help of the great mathematician Dan Connolly, here's what we've got:

-- In the simplest scenario, if the Orioles win three of their final five games, they're in the postseason for the first time since 1997.


But you'd like to see them pop the bubbly at home, so here are two scenarios in which they could clinch Sunday at Camden Yards.

-- If the Orioles win their next two games against Boston, and the Angels lose one of their next two against Texas, the Orioles will clinch a postseason berth.

-- The Orioles can also clinch on Sunday if they split the next two games, the Rays split their next two against Chicago and the Angels lose their next two.

Got that?

There is still, of course, a very realistic chance of the Orioles winning the division, and there's still the matter of sorting out homefield advanatage in the wild-card playoff.

But those are your bare-bones clinching scenarios for now. That should be enough to chew on until the next round of games clears up the picture a little more.

Also, you'll note that the White Sox have dropped off the wild-card standings above. If they don't catch the Tigers and win the AL Central (they're one game back), then they're out.

And finally, there's this: The Orioles are still within shouting distance to earn homefield advantage throughout the entire American League playoffs. With five games to play, they're just two behind the Rangers for the best record in the AL.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Tweet of the night

Joe Maddon
(@RaysJoeMaddon): I thought we had one mulligan left and we just used it. Now we definitely have to do our best Minnesota Fats imitation.

Poll question

Recommended on Baltimore Sun