We are now down to the last 18 games of the 2013 regular season.
The Orioles blew a golden opportunity last night to move within a ½ game of the Tampa Bay Rays – who currently hold the second wild card spot and lost to the Red Sox – as the New York Yankees defeated them, 4-1.
They are 77-67 and are a 1 ½ game behind the Rays for the second wild card spot. The Indians are too 1 ½ a game hind the Rays; meanwhile, the Yankees gained ground and are 2 games back. The Kansas City Royals are 3 games back.
If the Orioles would have won last night, they would have pulled within ½ a game of Tampa Bay.
It’s not over; however, they blew a great opportunity on Tuesday night.
However, the next two games against New York are must-wins.
The Orioles had a 4-1 lead heading into top of the sixth inning; however, New York put up a two-spot in that frame and scored four more times in the eighth off Baltimore relievers Kevin Gausman and Francisco Rodriguez.
Based on Buck Showalter’s moves last night in the final third of the game, you have to wonder like many in the media noted that maybe the Baltimore bullpen might be tired. I expected to see maybe Tommy Hunter or Darren O’Day come out in the eighth inning, especially since the Orioles held on a tight 4-3 lead with a Yankee team starting to show some competence at the plate.
However, Buck left Gausman in. He had thrown a 1-2-3 inning, but I’m sure few expected the onslaught in the deciding frame.
Alex Rodriguez led off the frame with a double, followed by Robinson Cano single, and Alfonso Soriano put the nail in coffin for the Orioles with a three-run homer.
By then, the game was over despite Baltimore’s effort.
The Yankees’ Mariano Rivera would earn his 42nd save of the season; meanwhile, the youngster Gausman would take the loss for the Orioles.
Baltimore got some offense from their bats, but has little to show for it.
Chris Davis hit his 49th homer and the Orioles scored four times in the fifth inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Miguel Gonzalez, who started for Baltimore, lasted six innings and gave up three runs.
With the season winding down, the Orioles know what they need to do and win.
Can they do it is another question.