I’ve said previously that with all of the former 2018 Baltimore Orioles in the MLB playoffs, the Buck Showalter era is indirectly living on in absentia. I suppose that might come off as a bit of a stretch. But if you think about it, there’s some truth behind that statement.
New York fell to Boston last night, 4-3. That was an elimination game, so Boston now advances to play Houston in the ALCS. New York won 100 games in 2018, which in most seasons and in most divisions would have been enough to win the division. Not this year in the AL East.
New York of course had to play an elimination game at home last week against Oakland, and then jump head first into a best-of-five ALDS against their rivals (Boston). And as the Orioles and Oriole fans will tell you, those Wild Card Games will take a lot of out you. Obviously you’d rather play in the Wild Card Game as opposed to staying home. However they aren’t exactly pleasant experiences – win or lose.
The O’s won seven games and dropped 12 to New York this year. The only team in the American League against whom they won more games was Tampa (8). Granted going 7-12 against a division foe isn’t winning you any titles. However at the very least the Birds were slightly more competitive aainst New York than they were against most other teams.
You see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. New York finished eight games behind Boston in the standings. The O’s went 3-16 against Boston – had they ended up with a similar record against New York, the division is much tighter. And who knows how things play out at the end of the day?
New York still would have had some work to do given that circumstance in order to stay out of the Wild Card Game. But the fact is that you just don’t know how things end up playing out. So one way or the other, the influence of the Orioles was felt – directly or otherwise.