Tap-In Question: Do these Orioles make the playoffs? Why or why not? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: Do these Orioles make the playoffs? Why or why not?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon


It’s post-Labor Day at the Tap Room.

We’re no longer wearing white, but you still can wear black and orange if you want in this joint.

Will you be wearing it in a month?

That’s basically our Tap-In Question today.

The Orioles have won three of their last four against AL East opponents, including a complete-game victory by Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday at Tampa.

No the barkeep hasn’t been drinking. That really happened Monday afternoon with Jimenez tossing a two-hitter and becoming the first Oriole to pitch all nine innings of a game since Miguel Gonzalez two years ago (Sept. 3, 2014).

Jimenez – to the disdain of the pitchfork mob that’s been hanging out at the back tables since April – is pitching well, a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts.

And so is Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. And Chris Tillman returns Sunday, and the bullpen is still excellent. And Chris Davis is hitting longballs. And the Orioles could set a franchise record for home runs while they bash opponents. And the defense sparkles most nights.

Of course, Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley are struggling. And Jimenez can’t be trusted yet. And Bundy hasn’t pitched this many innings before. And there’s a shaky bridge to Brad Brach and Zach Britton. And the offense is too homer-happy. It strikes out too much and it doesn’t get on base or make productive outs often enough. And the Orioles can’t handle quality pitching. And they can’t win on the road.

Wow, that was therapeutic.

Maybe you’re drinking your beer in an orange-and-black glass. Or maybe the pint I just poured you is already half empty.

The bottom line is the Orioles have 25 games remaining in this rollercoaster-off-the-rails season. They are 75-62, two games out of first place in the AL East while continuing to hold onto a Wild Card berth.

Thirteen of their remaining 25 are against the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. So they, for the most part, control their destiny.

Before the season began, I predicted the Orioles would win 87 games, finish in third behind the Red Sox and Blue Jays and just miss the playoffs.

I might have nailed it.

But, if allowed to amend that prediction, I’d say the Orioles end up with a Wild Card spot, but probably lose before they get to the ALCS. Orioles manager Buck Showalter is really good managing a bullpen and a bench with expanded rosters, and this team has a ton of veterans that won’t panic. In the end, though, I think the lack of dominating starting pitching and the over-reliance on homers damage their World Series chances.

Now I want your simple prediction – and an explanation.

Tap-In Question: Do these Orioles make the playoffs? Why or why not?



  1. DutchDinger

    September 6, 2016 at 7:54 am

    If Ubaldo can pitch a complete game anything is possible.

    • Mau

      September 6, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Agree, after yesterday this is the most confounding team in baseball. If you had picked the last guy to possibly throw a CG for the O’s, it would have been Ubaldo. Wow. Anything is possible.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 9:39 am

      It’s the beauty of baseball. You can crunch all the numbers you want. And then something like that happens.

  2. claudecat

    September 6, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I’ve long since given up on predicting anything with this team. The talent is there, especially once Tillman and maybe even O’Day are back. But will they be the good O’s or the bad on a given day? Even in yesterday’s win, two of the ugliest at K’s imaginable preceded the barrage of runs, none via the homer. Inconceivable!

    We’re a deeply flawed team, but one that can at any moment put a hurtin’ on any team or pitcher. Our deficiencies extend beyond those you’ve mentioned too. Our outfield defense is pretty awful. Matt Wieters, aside from the arm usually, is not a great receiver.

    But if everything falls into place, as it mostly has in September? Sure! As the first commenter said, anything is possible. Feels like that’s more true – in ways both bad and good – for this team than most others.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

      The Orioles are deeply flawed. But so is pretty much every AL team. That’s why I think they have a legit chance at postseason. Tho I doubt a deep run.

  3. rebusgadfly

    September 6, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I’m with DutchDinger

  4. Creatively_19

    September 6, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I say no, and here’s why:
    The Orioles (75-62) need to get to about 90 wins to make the playoffs. This not only requires going about 15-10 the rest of the way, but most of those 15 wins need to come against Detroit, Boston, and Toronto, or else that number will only get higher. Here is a breakdown of the remaining schedule:

    3 games against Detroit (Road)
    7 games against Boston (3 Road, 4 Home)
    3 games against Toronto (3 Road)
    3 games against Yankees (3 Road)
    6 games against Tampa (2 Road, 4 Home)
    3 games against Arizona (3 home)

    With the exception of the Diamondbacks and Rays, all of these teams are well above .500, and most of the remaining games are on the road. The Orioles are not a very good road team.

    Is it possible the O’s make the playoffs? Certainly. I don’t get surprised by much of anything the team does these days. I just don’t think its all that likely.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 9:44 am

      The bigger concern is the road than the good teams. They can hold their own against top competition. I think Indians and Rangers are best teams in AL and they matched up fine. But they just don’t play consistently well on road.

      • Creatively_19

        September 6, 2016 at 10:00 am

        Dan, you say that like the O’s didn’t lose 2 of 2 to the Red Sox and 2 of 3 to the Jays the last time both teams were in town (at home)….

        • Dan Connolly

          September 6, 2016 at 11:28 am

          But overall O’s are 6-6 vs Boston, 7-9 vs Jays, 5-1 vs Cleveland, 3-1 vs Det and 3-4 vs Texas. That’s 24-21 against the teams currently in the playoffs in AL (O’s/Det tied). That’s holding your own. They are also 30-37 on road. That’s why that component is more concerning.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    September 6, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It’s too bad we can’t share video on this thread. The old snippet of Vince Lombardi yelling “WHAT THE HELLS GOING ON OUT THERE?!” is as appropriate a response as I can fathom.

    For a more verbose answer Dan, THAT team, yesterday, that team can win the World Series. The problem is that team seems to be some sort of clan of baseball ninjas, popping up out of nowhere and kicking ass before disappearing into the shadows. The Baltimore Batmen.
    I don’t look at making the playoffs as a success. That’s a pre-2012 ‘just happy to be here’ attitude that belongs in Tampa, Oakland or Minnesota. This team has been to the ALCS and won 96 and 93 games in the past 4 seasons. Anything less than the parade down Pratt St is unacceptable, period. And this team can do it, if the stars align. Just looking at the ceilings of teams across MLB, the Orioles are one of three teams that, when they are hitting on all cylinders, are damn near unbeatable. People are calling Texas the team to beat in the AL, but I don’t see them as even being in the Orioles weight class when the Birds are cooking with Crisco. That’s what makes this season so maddening.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Wow. Now that is a rant. Very well done. 2 drink chips. Now get off the bar. Your shoes are leaving mudprints. I agree with most of what you said, but I’m not buying the concept that the season wasn’t a success if the Orioles ONLY make the playoffs. Yes, they’ve done that twice in four years. They’ve also done it twice in 18 years. Only 10 teams make the playoffs. Getting to the postseason means you’ve had a successful season. Period. Now, not saying it’s not a disappointment if it doesn’t extend beyond that. But making the playoffs is hard. You can’t forget that. Oh, and baseball ninjas is a great name for a band.

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        On that I have to disagree with you, Dan. Two years ago yes, just going to the playoffs was a delight, “the magic is back’ blah, blah, blah. But we are talking about a team that is one of the most successful organizations in MLB the last 4 years. All the griping and bellyaching we all do on this site sometimes obscures the fact that we, right now, are watching live one of the great eras in the history of a franchise that knows a thing or two about greatness. They need to close the deal, as the success of this era is finite. So yes, while making the playoffs is just enough success to not get coaches and GM’s fired and sounds good in next years Athlon Preview, it shouldn’t be good enough for the fans. Boston fans aren’t just hoping for a Wild Card spot. Yankee fans don’t jump up and down when they get bounced in the Divisional round. Why should Oriole fans? We’ve been waiting 33 years. It’s time to bring home the hardware.

  6. OsFanStuckInNY

    September 6, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Only if Detroit and/or Detroit tank it. These hitters can go into an ugly slump against the kind of pitching the other contenders will throw against them. The pitching may continue to outperform their earlier stats, but I think they’ll just miss, winning 88 or 89 on the season.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

      I think it will take 90 to make the playoffs, too. So 88-89 is a just miss, imo.

  7. Steve Cockey

    September 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I certainly hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it. If we assume a playoff berth will require 90 wins, that would pretty much mean the O’s would have to average winning or splitting every single remaining series. Or something like this:

    Opp | W – L
    BOS | 4 – 3
    TB | 4 – 2
    NYY | 2 – 1
    TOR | 1 – 2
    ARI | 2 – 1
    DET | 2 – 1
    TOTAL: 15 – 10

    Given that they haven’t had an above .500 month since June, I just don’t see them suddenly finding enough consistency to post something like the above. It would be quite a sudden reversal IMO, especially against such good competition. But they have the talent to do it. Should hopefully be a fun few weeks.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      I will say this. A lot of what Showalter does with his team — especially in the bullpen — is to save his bullets for September. It’s why his records are usually good at the end of the seasons when he can manipulate an extended roster.

    • Steve Cockey

      September 6, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      That’s an excellent point. Buck’s September records here are:

      2010: 14-12, plus 3-1 in October
      2011: 15-13
      2012: 19-9, plus 1-2 in October
      2013: 14-14
      2014: 17-10
      2015: 14-13, plus 4-0 in October

  8. legslim

    September 6, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t believe they will because they are too inconsistent and they are not good away from Camden yards but hopefully I am wrong but o just see them setting us up for disappointment in the end.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Like I said earlier, the inability to consistently win on the road likely will be this team’s downfall — along with shaky starting pitching and an inability to manufacture runs. But they could still get into the playoffs despite those weaknesses.

  9. pjclark4

    September 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    This doesn’t make any sense, but my gut says no and my head says yes. It really should be the other way around at this point, right?

    Law of averages says they will be somewhere between their worst month and their best month. We have seen their great (June), and we have seen their bad (late July through late August). Now we see their ok.

    I say we have a decent pitching month and an average finish at the plate. We reel off a run of 6 games in a row, play .500 the rest of the games, and sneak in to the WC game.

    Blieve hons and beer me!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Interesting thoughts. Brew on way, hon.

  10. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 6, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    First off, hat’s off to Mr. September, (aka Ubaldo) for that game yesterday.

    So will the O’s make the playoffs this year? Well, the 10 year old boy in me says, heck yeah, the O’s will make the playoffs this year. And heck yeah, the O’s can win the world series too. And as a 10 year old, I reserve the right to NOT give any reason, other than I really, really want them to and will hold my breath until they do!

    It’s baseball my friends. It’s a kids game. You’ve just got to believe.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 6, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      You Gotta Believe? Isn’t that someone else’s slogan?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        It worked for them in ’69 didn’t it?

  11. RagingC

    September 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    There is no statistic for Orioles Magic! This team has a unique blend that is dangerous. A core of solid veterans, and the most talented players are young. If a few vets get going, the kids will follow the momentum. The energy will be hard to stop. Maybe they are just naive enough to believe that they can compete.
    I’m going with yes, they make it to the playoffs as a WC.
    And… in my humble opinion
    If they can win a series, they will win The series.

  12. Dante

    September 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Orioles seem to have better late inning game management than other AL East teams. A big key to this crazy equation is not letting wins slip away late. Starting pitching is coming around, too! I say they win the division.

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