It only took all 162 games, but the Orioles clinched the playoffs on Sunday with their 5-2 win over the Yankees.
Catcher Matt Wieters collected four RBI’s on the afternoon, hitting two separate two-run home runs in the fourth and sixth innings. The other run was driven in by shortstop J.J. Hardy, who hit a sacrifice fly to score second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
Kevin Gausman continued his late-season success, pitching 7.1 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits, a walk and three strikeouts. Closer Zach Britton went the rest of the way for a five-out save. Britton finishes the regular season with 47 saves and an ERA of 0.54. There are those who believe Britton will win the Cy Young award for his dominance this season.
When the Orioles finished their game against the Yankees, they knew they had clinched a spot in the American League Wild Card game. What they didn’t know right away was who they would be playing and where the game would be played. That was determined by the outcomes of two games; the Blue Jays and the Red Sox, and the Tigers against the Braves.
The Tigers were shutout 1-0 by the Braves in the final game at Turner Field. Detroit registered just five hits, and Braves starter Julio Teheran struck out 12. This game ended before Toronto and Boston, so the Orioles knew that they would be facing the Blue Jays. They just did not know where.
As it turns out, Toronto defeated Boston 2-1 in David Ortiz’s last regular season game. The game was tied at one until the eighth inning, when Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki singled and picked up an RBI that scored first baseman Edwin Encarnación.
This marks the third time in five years that the Orioles have made the playoffs, and the second time that Baltimore will play in the one-game Wild Card playoff. In 2012 the Orioles had to travel to Texas to play the Rangers. It was the first season that Major League Baseball had the second Wild Card team in the playoff format. The Orioles won that game by a score of 5-1.
The scheduled start time for Tuesday’s game in Toronto is 8:08 p.m on TBS.
Of course, everyone knows that the Orioles and Blue Jays are not the best of friends. Center-fielder Adam Jones has gotten into some exchanges with Blue Jays right fielder José Bautista. There have been a few instances where these two teams have gotten into some scuffles, and the tension will surely be high on Tuesday night with the season on the line.
This season, the Orioles are 9-10 against Toronto, and 4-6 at the Rogers Centre. Schoop has the highest batting average against the Blue Jays. Against Toronto this season, Schoop is batting .311 with four home runs. Gausman has the lowest ERA against Toronto, but since he pitched on Sunday he will not be pitching in this game. The two pitchers that are likely to start this game are Dylan Bundy or Chris Tillman. Bundy has not started a game at the Rogers Centre this season. Tillman’s ERA in Toronto this year is 2.38 in 11 innings (two starts).
Here are some videos of the Orioles’ post-game celebration following Sunday’s win over the Yankees: