Orioles are now expected to compete year in and year out
It was a familiar scene for the Orioles. Thousands of cheering fans at the Ballpark in Arlington waving towels for a vital game.
That’s where the Orioles were just under a year ago, playing their wild-card game against the Texas Rangers.
They had just come from Tampa Bay and instead of going to Oakland for the game, they were going to Arlington. The Rangers had unexpectedly been swept by the Athletics, and now they hosted the game.
On Monday night, it was technically a regular season game with expanded rosters. Statistically, it was game 163 of the regular season.
David Price pitched a complete game as the Tampa Bay Rays beat Texas 5-2.
Just 10 days before, Price started the longest game in Orioles and Rays history, the 18-inning slog that took nearly seven hours.
Now, Tampa Bay was celebrating its win over the Rangers in the same clubhouse the Orioles made a mess of in 2012.
In 2010 and 2011, Texas was the American League champion. They nearly beat St. Louis in the sixth game of the 2011 Series. In the last two years, they were leading the AL West before being passed by Oakland. This year, they needed to win the last seven games of the regular season to even tie for the wild-card.
The Orioles finish the season 6 ½ games behind the Rays, with seven fewer wins. A year ago, the Orioles were the final wild-card team with 93 wins. This year, with an extra game, Tampa Bay has 92.
The Rays finished the season 14-5. They’ll play Cleveland, which is on a 10-game winning streak, and won 15 of 17.
On May 8, the Orioles were eight games over .500 for the first time. That’s where they finished. In September, they were 14-14. Last year, they were 20-11 in September.
In order for the Orioles to have won 92, they would have had to have a similar September run. They never had one.