I guess, technically, the true stretch run in baseball occurs around Sept. 1.
We’re still in the dog days of August – something that has left renowned philosopher William Nathaniel Showalter wondering why it’s not “cat days” of August.
Anyway, it’s crunch time at Camden Yards.
Tuesday marks the beginning of an eight-game homestand, a 16-game jaunt without an off day and 19 consecutive contests against clubs with records above .500. Of their 45 games remaining in the regular season, the Orioles only play 10 against sub-.500 teams, seven versus the Tampa Bay Rays and three versus the Arizona Diamondbacks.
There are some favorable nuances in the remaining schedule – three off days in September, for instance – and some unfavorable things, such as non-division games against a trio of tough opponents: The Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers and National League East power Washington Nationals.
Ultimately, the Orioles control their own destiny. Win at their current pace, win enough in the division and on the road, and get into the playoffs. That, of course, is simplistic. Here are five things the Orioles must do to have a better chance at their third postseason in five years.