BALTIMORE—If the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, they’ll clinch their first American League East Division championship since 2014. They’ve won nine AL titles, and only three have come at home. It may have seemed inevitable when the Orioles celebrated their playoff spot on September 17th.
“We weren’t thinking about a whole lot,” pitcher John Means said before Thursday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
Means, who’s starting on Friday night, said the Orioles “keep doing what they’re doing, and just stick to the process. We know what we need to do to play our best and try to do that every day.”
If the Orioles win the East, they’ll host the first game of the Division Series on October 7th.
“I can’t wait to see the crowd here at Camden Yards,” Means said. “It’s going to be so cool. I’m just looking forward to it. A win today would take care of it. We had a lot of fun just clinching the playoffs. We’ve got to top that a little bit. A lot of guys are exciting about it. We’ve got to take care of business.”
Means has been with the Orioles since 2018 and has witnessed the pain of rebuilding.
“That much losing wears on you,” said Means, whose team is one win away from 100 after losing 110 two years ago. “To be a part of a winning clubhouse, there’s nothing like it. You just want it so bad to finally be here..
“I knew what we had. I knew what the goal was. We were making all the right moves. I know at this level, it was hard to see. I think when you look down at the lower levels, you saw what was coming and what we were ready for. I’m not surprised, to be honest, but to be here now, it’s so special.”
Postseason rotation: The Orioles haven’t listed starters for Saturday and Sunday, and a Thursday night clinch could help manager Brandon Hyde decide on it.
“There’s a lot of reasons you wait, whether it’s to rest guys or schedule some bullpen innings,” Hyde said. “We’re a game away from that, so I’m just really focused on trying to win. Try to win tonight, and hopefully that goes well. If not, try to win tomorrow.”
Brooks Robinson Memorial: The Orioles will hold a public memorial service for Brooks Robinson at Camden Yards on Monday at 10 a.m. Robinson, a Hall of Fame third baseman who played his entire career of 23 seasons with the Orioles, died on Tuesday at age 86.
Parking will be available in Lots A, B and C. Fans will enter at Gate E. Lots will open at 8:30 a.m., and fans can enter the ballpark at 9.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The Constance and Brooks Robinson Charitable Foundation, 2 Railroad Avenue, Glyndon, Maryland 21071.
Notes: Hyde said that Ryan Mountcastle, who’s batting fourth and playing first base on Thursday night, will get at-bats during the last four games of the regular season but may not play in every game. Mountcastle was on the injured list because of an injured shoulder … Baseball America named three Oriole products to their minor league All-Star first team: catcher Samuel Basallo, shortstop Jackson Holliday and outfielder Heston Kjerstad.