Down the Stretch (Sept. 5)

[Editor's note: Down the stretch is a new 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 intensifies.]

About last night


Orioles thrash Jays 12-0, pull into a tie for first place
Peter Schmuck: It's no joke, the Orioles are in first place
Brooks Robinson on the O's playoff chances: 'Oh sure'
Tuesday's full scoreboard

AL East Standings


BAL        76-59     --
NYY        76-59     --
TB          75-61    1.5

AL Wild-Card Standings

BAL/NYY  76-59     --
OAK        76-59      --
TB          75-61    1.5
DET        72-63     4
LAA        73-63     4

Today's game

Orioles at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m.

RHP Miguel Gonzalez (6-3, 3.31 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (8-5, 2.93 ERA)

Key matchup

Orioles CF Adam Jones is a career .360 hitter against the hard-throwing Morrow with two homers and eight RBIs in 25 at-bats. Jones is 4-for-8 with a homer against him this year. This will be Morrow's fourth start against the O's this season (he's 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in the first three).


Other games that matter

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

Angels (Haren) at Athletics (McCarthy), 3:35 p.m.

Indians (Jiminez) at Tigers (Fister), 7:05 p.m.

Yankees (Kuroda) at Rays (Moore), 7:10 p.m.

Rangers (Dempster) at Royals (Teaford), 8:10 p.m.


Thought of the day

There were so many positives for the Orioles to take from last night -- from the 12-0 win, to the Yankees' loss, to the way the O's handled themselves and said all of the right things afterward.

Any time a team moves into first place this late in the season for the first time in 15 years, it's going to be the big story of the day.

That said, the Jason Hammel news shouldn't be understated.

For the first 3 months, Hammel was the Orioles' best pitcher, and he's expected to be back on the mound when the O's welcome the Yankees to Camden Yards on Thursday night. Yeah, some Cal guy will steal a little bit of Hammel's thunder that night, too, but there's no question what kind of impact the 6-foot-6 right-hander could make down the stretch.

I'll be the first to admit, when I heard Hammel needed right knee surgery following his first start after the All-Star break, I thought it was a sign of bad things to come.


The way these Orioles are built, no one player is truly irreplaceable, and the emergence of Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Miguel Gonzalez has made it seem like Hammel hasn't been missed. (The O's are amazingly 31-18 since he went down with that injury.)

But Hammel (8-6, 3.54) chewed up innings and pitched some of the Orioles' finest games of the first half, and I think he's going to be a valuable "addition" as Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have suggested.

Before Showalter squashed it, there had been some speculation that Dylan Bundy could be called up to pitch in the upcoming series against New York. Getting Hammel back won't make as much of an impact at the box office as that would. Heck, it might not even get people more excited than the trade for Joe Saunders (or the almost trade for Joe Blanton) did.

But if the Orioles are going to continue this run and have a chance at (I can't believe I'm about to say this) winning a postseason series, I'm betting Hammel will be a part of it.

Inside the enemy clubhouses

Mark Teixeira is hoping to return to the Yankees' lineup vs. Orioles


Angels ace Jered Weaver is expected to have his next start pushed back

The A's are hitting home runs and beating the odds

Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello has no idea how to play fantasy football

Tweet of the night

Jeremy Guthrie (@TheRealJGuts): YOU DON'T BEAT THE period

Poll question