Baltimore Orioles: Playoff Possibilities Down On The Farm
It is Labor Day Weekend and three Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates are playing games with playoff implications.
Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of summer, marks the official end of the Minor League baseball season. This season, the 2019 Labor Day Weekend will be filled with playoff excitement for three affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles.
Entering play on Sunday, the Bowie Baysox (AA), the Delmarva Shorebirds (A-Low) and the Aberdeen Ironbirds (A-Short) are all playing games that will determine their playoff future. Excitement and intensity will certainly be at a high level all weekend.
The Baysox (46-24 second-half record) currently lead the Eastern League’s Western Division by 1.0 games over the Erie Seawolves (45-25) for the second half of the season and their magic number to clinch the division is one. With two games left against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco affiliate) the Baysox are in “win and you are in” mode.
To date, the Baysox have a 14-6 record against Richmond and are expected to start Zac Lowther and Alex Wells (rank third and fourth in the Eastern League in ERA) on Sunday and Monday, respectively, in Richmond. All of this would suggest a high probability that the Baysox will face the first-half winner, the Harrisburg Senators (Washington affiliate) in the first round of the playoffs.
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The Shorebirds (41-26) are tied with the Hickory Crawdads (Texas affiliate) for the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division second-half lead. Truth be told, the Shorebirds are in the playoffs based on their first-place finish during the first-half of the season. Thus, in actuality, they are playing simply for a sweep of both halves of the season.
The Shorebirds play host to the Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox affiliate) this weekend with Dallas Litscher and Adam Stauffer scheduled to start as the team plays for the second-half crown and the bragging rights that accompany a sweep of both halves. Hickory plays host to the Lexington Legends (Kansas City affiliate) this weekend as they try to keep pace with the Shorebirds.
The most intriguing, and possibly tension-filled series, for the weekend occurs in New York where the Ironbirds (41-32) face the Hudson Valley Renegades (Tampa Bay affiliate). The Ironbirds are one game behind Hudson Valley for first place in the New York-Penn League’s McNamara Division and are tied with the Brooklyn Cyclones (New York Mets affiliate) for second place and the league’s Wild Card spot. These final two games are for all the marbles.
As the Ironbirds go head-to-head with the Renegades, the Cyclones will play host to the Staten Island Yankees (New York affiliate). As of this writing, the Ironbirds have yet to announce the starters for the final two games.
To sum up Labor Day weekend on the Baltimore Orioles farm, the Shorebirds are in the playoffs, the Baysox should make the playoffs and the Ironbirds have a reasonably good shot at making the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome of all nine games the affiliates will play this weekend, it will be an exciting weekend of baseball.