The Orioles misplaced the largest recreation most members of their clubhouse have ever performed in. The excellent news is that they’ll get the chance to bounce again every of the subsequent three days.
Baltimore opened its vital sequence with the Tampa Bay Rays with a 4-3 loss Thursday evening, leaving the Orioles with a one-game lead within the American League East. But with three contests to go within the weekend matchup, they’ve the flexibility to make up for it.
“We’re not going to sit too hard on it,” rookie infielder Gunnar Henderson stated. “We’ve started off a series with a loss before, so we’re just going to go out there and continue to play hard and put ourselves in a good position to win a ball game.”
The Orioles have now misplaced the primary recreation in 16 of their 48 sequence, however they got here again to win six of the primary 15 whereas splitting two others. They have gained their previous three sequence during which they dropped the opener, all in opposition to playoff contenders in Seattle, Toronto and Arizona. In the Rays’ solely different go to to Baltimore in May, the Orioles misplaced Game 1 earlier than profitable the subsequent two.
They haven’t misplaced greater than 4 video games in a row this season, with Baltimore having gone an AL-record 86 straight multi-game sequence with out being swept. That streak started shortly earlier than the Orioles known as up catching phenom Adley Rutschman, who as a College World Series Most Outstanding Player is maybe the one teenager on the membership’s roster who has performed in video games with extra significance than Thursday’s. He and Henderson, the Orioles’ high two draft picks in 2019, have been two of the eight gamers who began in opposition to the Rays who haven’t performed in a postseason recreation.
Thursday represented a style, with what Baltimore supervisor Brandon Hyde known as “a really good baseball game” determined by a handful of performs: rookie third baseman Jordan Westburg’s flub of a grounder to spark a three-run third; Baltimore’s incapacity to show a bases-loaded, no-out scenario within the fifth into a couple of run; and Hyde’s selection to stay with a cruising Kyle Bradish to face Luke Raley with two outs within the seventh, just for the left-handed hitter to swat a game-winning residence run as lefty Danny Coulombe warmed within the bullpen.
Starting the opener of this sequence may need been extra of a take a look at drive for Bradish than anybody else, with the second-year right-hander primed to be Baltimore’s Game 1 starter come the postseason. Despite the importance of the sport and sequence — each the Orioles and Rays are positioned for the playoffs, however the division winner will get home-field benefit and a first-round bye — Bradish stated he tried to view the outing as some other begin, with the Orioles’ lead permitting him to keep away from a extra dire mindset.
“They’re right below us,” Bradish stated, “but we’re still ahead of ‘em.”
Losing every of the subsequent three video games is the one state of affairs that will change that final result. If the Orioles handle just one win this weekend, the Rays would depart Baltimore tied for the AL East lead however the Orioles would declare the season sequence and the division tiebreaker. Salvaging a break up or following their present three-game shedding streak with three straight wins would imply the Orioles enter the ultimate 4 sequence of the season with a lead within the division and the tiebreaker in hand.
But the Orioles aren’t considering even that far forward. After the loss, their minds shifted to Friday, when struggling starter Jack Flaherty and a immediately slumping offense will attempt to even the sequence in entrance of a sold-out crowd at Camden Yards. Before Thursday’s recreation, Hyde stated he hoped his gamers would “relax and enjoy all the moments,” acknowledging he wouldn’t give you the option to take action himself.
“This is what you play for all year,” Hyde stated. “To play meaningful games in September, it’s something we’ve always talked about, and these are definitely meaningful games.”
The which means grows with every passing recreation. It merely presents one other likelihood to win their largest recreation of the season.