Myriad O’s thoughts: A frenzied final week; 50 home wins; final attendance numbers; Bundy’s 10th W
So, are you ready for this?
The Orioles won 2-1 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and finish their regular season home schedule.
Now, they embark on a six-game road trip, which begins Tuesday in Toronto, where the Orioles will play three games against the Blue Jays before traveling to Yankee Stadium to finish out the season with three versus the New York Yankees.
At this point, the Orioles control their own destiny.
They hold the critical second spot in the American League Wild Card race right now, 1 ½ games ahead of the Detroit Tigers and 1 ½ behind the Blue Jays for the chance to host the one-game Wild Card playoff.
If the season ended today, the Orioles would be playing at Toronto in the Wild Card game.
But the regular season is still breathing for another week.
So the Orioles get three more chances at the Blue Jays after sweeping the Diamondbacks.
“Hopefully we picked up some momentum,” pitcher Dylan Bundy said. “And, hopefully, we can carry it up there, across the border, and play some good baseball up there.”
The Orioles are 7-9 against the Blue Jays this year, but 2-5 at Rogers Centre. A sweep and the Orioles jump into the top Wild Card spot.
You can’t really expect that. But winning four of six this week would give the Orioles 89 wins and should be enough for a playoff spot. At 3-3, it gets dicey.
Of the five top Wild Card contenders, only the Orioles play all of their remaining games on the road. That’s not a good thing. For the season, they are 35-40 away from Camden Yards.
Home sweet home
One of the reasons the Orioles have a legitimate shot at the playoffs: They are so good at home. Even with the struggles on this final 11-game homestand, one in which they went just 5-6.
“Initially, I thought about this homestand, how much we wanted to play well and win the games in front of that type of crowd,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “End of the regular season … is for the fans. You want to repay their support more than anything. Their support has a lot to do with us having a good record. It’s always been (a) refuge or safe haven for us.”
On Sunday, the Orioles won their 50th game of the regular season at Camden Yards. It’s just the second time in the park’s history in which the Orioles had at least 50 wins. The other was in 2014, when the Orioles also went 50-31 at Camden Yards on their way to an AL East division title.
Before that, you have to go all the way back to the 1983 World Series championship and Memorial Stadium to find a group that won 50 at home. The franchise’s record is 60 wins (60-21) by the 1969 club that lost in the World Series.
The final attendance numbers
I’ve kind of punted on continuing to write about the attendance at Camden Yards this year and the reasons for why it experienced a sharp decline of about 150,000 patrons.
I’ve done plenty on it, and am ready to move to a billion other subjects.
But before I do, here is one final look at the hard numbers for 2016.
With an announced crowd of 31,229 on Sunday, the Orioles’ season attendance for 81 home games ended up as 2,172,344 or 26,819 per contest. It’s the lowest total and lowest game average at Camden Yards since 2012.
Last year, the Orioles drew 2.32 million in 78 games, boasting an average of 30,806, which was their highest since 2005.
The Orioles rank 20th in the majors in average home attendance – and it’s unlikely that will change within the next week as other teams complete their home schedules.
Bundy wins 10th
At the beginning of the season rookie Dylan Bundy was supposed to throw no more than 70 innings, all likely out of the bullpen. On Sunday, he made his 14th start, his 36th appearance and notched his 10th win of the season.
“Definitely didn’t expect it. I was expecting to throw 70 innings out of the pen,” said Bundy, who has set a career-high for most innings pitched in a pro season with 109 2/3 innings. “I’ll take it. I’m not going to complain about it or anything. But we’re just trying to get team wins right now. That’s all that matters right now.”
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