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?