By David Selig
The Baltimore Sun
4:19 PM EDT, September 14, 2012
[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
Machado's walk-off hit clinches non-losing season
Orioles close the book on an era of losing
A look back at the 14-year streak
Notes: Hammel gets good news about right knee
Wieters might need to leave trip for birth of child
Thursday's full scoreboard
AL East Standings
BAL 81-62 --
NYY 81-62 --
TB 77-66 4
AL Wild-Card Standings
OAK 82-61 --
BAL/NYY 81-62 --
LAA 78-66 3.5
TB 77-66 4
DET 75-67 5.5
Orioles at Athletics, 10:05 p.m.
LHP Joe Saunders (8-11, 4.22 ERA) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (12-10, 3.90 ERA)
Coco Crisp is 7-for-24 lifetime against Saunders, and 6 of those hits went for extra bases (5 doubles, 1 homer). Crisp has 4 RBIs against Saunders and has also stolen two bases against him.
Other games that matter
Tigers (Verlander) at Indians (Kluber), 7:05 p.m.
Rays (Price) at Yankees (Sabathia), 7:05 p.m.
Mariners (Iwakuma) at Rangers (Darvish), 8:05 p.m.
Angels (Wilson) at Royals (Chen), 8:10 p.m.
White Sox (Sale) at Twins (Vasquez), 8:10 p.m.
Thought of the day
For much of the year, Orioles fans have counted down the number of wins the team needed to reach 81. Avoiding that 15th straight losing season was a significant milestone, as we detailed with all of the coverage yesterday and today.
With that now out of the way, we're at a point where you can count down to how many games the Orioles will realistically need to win to qualify for the postseason.
It's a moving target, and if you believe that talking about these things can jinx a team -- well, just move on and forget I said anything. If not, indulge me for a minute.
With 19 games left, the O's can go a very mediocre 9-10 the rest of the way and get to 90 wins.
In that case, the Angels would need to go 12-6 to match them. Tampa Bay would need to go 13-6 to get to 90.
Now, let's imagine the O's stay hot and go 12-7 the rest of the way. L.A. then needs to go 15-3 or Tampa needs to go 16-3 just to tie.
Obviously that's looking at the second wild card, the minimum requirement for playing beyond Oct. 3. If the Orioles go 12-7, there's a good chance they can win the division or the top wild card.
However you slice it, if the Orioles play reasonably well for these final three weeks of the season, it's going to take a big-time run from one of the other contenders to knock them out.
That's why it's impossible to overstate how important this week's sweep of the Rays was.
Inside the enemy clubhouses
Tweet of the day
XMAN @XavierAvery: Geez it's cold out here in Oakland...I should have brought some more cold gear...