Orioles Officially Eliminated from Playoff Contention
The Orioles will not be making a playoff appearance this year.
Despite a satisfying victory over the Yankees last night, the Orioles were eliminated from playoff contention. The Rays and Mariners both won and clinched playoff spots, leaving the O’s as the first team out, to borrow a college basketball term. Tampa comfortably beat the Astros, while the M’s broke the longest playoff drought in sports via a walk-off home run over the A’s.
While the news only became official late last night, the writing had been on the wall for a couple weeks. The Orioles, especially the offense, slumped through much of September with a 13-15 record. 4.3 runs per game isn’t so bad, but a few high-scoring affairs masked a bunch of lackluster performances. It’s hard to stay in the playoff race when losing series to the Tigers and Red Sox, let alone head-to-head with the other teams in the hunt.
On September 3 we ran a Twitter poll asking whether the Orioles would still be in the playoff race in the last series of the season. A whopping 96.4% of respondents said the O’s would still be alive or have already locked up a wild card spot. The overwhelming majority was wrong, but only by a few days. It is truly remarkable that this team made it all the way up to September 30–or even October 1, if you go by the clock.
You might think it is a little disappointing that the Birds didn’t really make it to October, but they sure went out on a high note. With the whole baseball world watching, Jordan Lyles pitched a gem, allowing one run in seven innings with nine strikeouts and only one walk. After Felix Bautista pitched the eighth, DL Hall was lights out in the ninth. Aaron Judge did not hit a home run.
We will have more coverage over the next few weeks on the 2022 Orioles, but I’ll say here that this is one of the most enjoyable teams I’ve ever watched, and I’m not just referring to baseball teams. They were already the first 110-loss team to rebound with 77 wins, and now they are the first with a .500 record. Much like the Why Not? Orioles from 1989, this team will be long remembered for being way better–and way more fun–than anyone expected.