The Orioles dont want to talk about it. They still have 15 games left in the regular season.But, the postseason is a little over two weeks from now, and its time for us to talk.They havent clinched anything but a winning season. Six months ago, that would have been cause for celebration. Now, they want more, much more.The Orioles still trail the Yankees by a half-game, but theyve played them even this season, splitting 18 games.Theres no reason the Orioles cant beat out New York for the AL East title, but if the teams are tied for the AL East title, there would be a one-game playoff at Oriole Park on Oct. 4, assuming the Orioles have a better record against division opponents.If the Orioles beat out the Yankees, theyll advance to the division series. Thats best three of five. Currently, the Orioles have a better record than AL Central leader Chicago, but a worse record than the top team in the AL West, Texas.The Orioles would play their first two games at Chicago on Oct. 6-7 and return to Baltimore for up to three games Oct. 9-11.If the Orioles dont catch the Yankees and continue to trail Oakland in the wild card chase, they d play a one-game playoff at the O.co.Coliseum on Oct. 5. In order to capture the top wild card spot, the Orioles have to beat out the Athletics. Since Oakland won the season series, theyll get home field advantage if theres a tie.The Orioles have lost 16 of their last 19 games in Oakland.If they beat out the Athletics, but fail to best the Yankees, the Orioles host the wild card playoff game on Oct. 5.If the Orioles would beat Oakland, they would return home to face the division winner with the best record, Texas on Oct 7-8. Up to three games would be played at Rangers Stadium from Oct. 10-12.The winners of the two division series meet in the American League Championship Series from Oct. 13-21. If the Orioles were AL East division champs, they would host the first two and if necessary, the last two games on Oct 13-14 and 20-21.If the Orioles were the wild card team, they would host Games 3,4 and 5 on Oct. 16-18.The World Series picture is clearer. If the Orioles were AL champs for the first time since 1983, they get games 3, 4 and 5 at home on Oct. 27-29. Home field advantage in the World Series goes to the National League because of their win in the All-Star Game.The World Series begins on Oct. 24 in the National League city.While Orioles players dont want to talk about this publicly, the teams front office is busily preparing. Tickets have been printed, season ticket holders invoiced and promotions to sell season tickets for next season have been tied in with this years postseason. There will be a public sale on Saturday morning of remaining tickets.If youre buying tickets, the Orioles have set prices at between 20-100 for the wild card and Division series.Ticket prices for the League Championship Series and World Series are set by Major League Baseball. LCS tickets are between 40 and 175 and 70-305 for the World Series.Fans watching on television will notice a change, too. There wont be any local telecasts. Wild card games will be broadcast by TBS. The Division Series will be broadcast mainly by TBS, though on days with four games, the MLB Network will air one of the four.The ALCS will be shown by TBS, the NLCS is on FOX. The World Series will be shown on FOX.Fans who might be confused by this new format should be thankful. Without the addition of a second wild card team, the Orioles chances would be lessened.Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are excitedly making their own preparations. Showalter is allowing Miguel Gonzalez some rest so that he can be fresh for the postseason, and hes hoping that Jason Hammel can come back, too.The Orioles can use only 25 players in the postseason, and those rosters can be changed for each playoff series. Showalter has undoubtedly been experimenting with multiple combinations. The team is currently carrying 16 pitchers and will probably have four fewer on a postseason roster.The team has 35 active players, though two of them, Nick Markakis and Wilson Betemit, are hurt. The Orioles hope Markakis, who has a broken left thumb, could be back if they advance deep into the playoffs.Troy Patton and Jim Thome may be activated from the disabled list later this week and could be useful additions for the postseason.
What will the postseason look like?
September 18, 2012, 3:52 pm