The Orioles' improbable run to the postseason wasn¿t enough to earn Buck Showalter the BBWAA American League Manager of the Year Award, but his narrow loss to Oakland's Bob Melvin could take little from savoring a memorable season.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon posted two starting lineups for Wednesday night¿s final game of the regular season. He had the side-by-side, one in case Chris Tillman took the mound for the Orioles and the other in case there was a change in the O's rotation and Zach Britton moved into the start.
Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel came out of his 73-pitch simulated game with the team's instructional league with his surgically reconstructed right knee feeling good, he and was given the green light to pitch in the postseason.
Even though Monday's 6-3 loss to the Rays sent the O's one game back in the AL East division race, the Orioles can still earn at least a wild card home game Friday if they win their final two regular season games here in Tampa Bay because the A's and Rangers are playing each other.
Making his first start at catcher since July 28, Taylor Teagarden took advantage of Sunday's start, driving in the game's only run with a two-out, 10th-inning double off Rays reliever Joel Peralta to give the Orioles a 1-0 win over the Rays.
Nick Johnson's brief career in an Orioles uniform has been less than stellar. But on Friday night, with sole possession of first place in the American League East on the line, he played the role of hero.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon complimented the Orioles at the end of last year for how hard they played and the way they opened the door for the Rays to get back to the playoffs. He was equally complimentary of the way the Orioles have opened this season and brought more balance to the American League East.
Count Rex Ryan as being one of those surprised by the Ravens¿ offensive performance against the Rams. ... Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk and Cory Redding returned to practice on Thursday. With a bye week coming up after the Jets game, Grubbs might be held out on Sunday. ... Terrell Suggs revealed on Wednesday that he is getting some reps on offense. ... Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter met with Orioles owner Peter Angelos for several hours on Thursday, but any resolution that might have resulted was not disclosed. ... The season-ending win over Boston was the most watched Wednesday night game on ESPN since 1998.
Long a solid center fielder and one of baseball's best baserunners, Curtis Granderson has turned into a beast at the plate since working with New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to rework his swing.
After an abysmal start on Sunday in which he retired just three of the 13 batters he faced, Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz insisted that he was "100 percent healthy." But he looked so out of sync in the 9-6 loss, Rays manager Joe Maddon said Matusz wasn't quite right. "He's not throwing as hard as he used to," he said.