Weather could play key role in playoff drive
Rain expected for all of Yankees series; Gausman to start Sunday
TORONTO — Figuring out the scenarios the Orioles could face over the next several days is being made even more complicated by forecasts calling for bad weather this weekend in New York.
The Orioles are scheduled to play their last three regular-season games this weekend at Yankee Stadium, and all three could be important in determining whether the club makes the postseason. The forecast in New York is calling for rain all three days.
Major League Baseball requires all 162 games to be played if a game affects postseason seeding or home-field advantage. If a game doesn’t have that kind of impact, those games don’t have to be played.
The Orioles beat Toronto on Thursday night, 4-0, to move into a tie with the Blue Jays for the first American League wild card and home-field advantage in the wild-card game, with three games remaining in the regular season. The Blue Jays and Orioles have a 11⁄ game lead over the Detroit Tigers, whose game Thursday against the Cleveland Indians was postponed because of rain.
The AL wild-card game is scheduled for Tuesday, but MLB is prepared to bump the game to Wednesday if other games must be fit in before then.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his team is more focused on controlling its own future than on all the possible scenarios that might exist.
“There’s certain stuff you have to be ahead of, like potential travel,” Showalter said. “[Travel secretary] Kevin [ Buck] does a great job of that, but it’s only a challenge if you create one. It doesn’t matter if we don’t do what we have to do. Nobody’s talking about that. It’s not a topic [of conversation]. It’s about tonight’s game and tomorrow’s game and the next game and the smoke clears on Sunday. We’ll see where we stand and we adjust to it and go.”
Even after playing the full 162-game schedule, the Orioles could still face a tiebreaking “Game 163” if they are one of two teams with identical records tied for the second wild card. If the Orioles and Tigers have the same record after 162 games, a tiebreaker would be played at Camden Yards on Tuesday. But if the Orioles and Mariners are tied, the Orioles would have to travel to Seattle to play a tiebreaker. Home field in tiebreaker games is decided by head-to-head regular-season records.
Any tiebreaker against the Tigers would be played Tuesday regardless, opening the door for the Orioles to finish any postponed games in New York on Monday, pushing a tiebreaker scenario, if needed, to Tuesday and the wild-card game to Wednesday. Gausman scheduled for Sunday: Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman threw a bullpen session before Thursday’s game, meaning he is scheduled to start Sunday’s regular-season finale at Yankee Stadium.
Several factors, including weather, could change that scenario, but Gausman is prepared to start Sunday.
“He is a candidate for Sunday,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how things progress. He’s preparing for that.”
If Gausman starts Sunday as expected, it would give him 30 starts this season, which was one of his statistical goals at the beginning of the year.
Gausman has had great success against the Yankees. In two starts at Yankee Stadium this season, he’s 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA, 15 strikeouts and one walk over 132⁄ innings. In 341⁄ career innings at Yankee Stadium, Gausman has a 2.36 ERA.
As expected, left-hander Wade Miley, who is away from the club for the birth of his first child, had a work day on his own Thursday in Louisiana and is scheduled to start Saturday in New York. Gausman Around the horn: With his pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game, Hyun Soo Kim is 6-for-9 with two walks as a pinch hitter. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the fourth active player to begin his career with six hits in his first nine pinch-hit at-bats. The others are the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Josh Bell, the Houston Astros’ Evan Gattis and the San Francisco Giants’ Denard Span. ... The Orioles are 38-35 against the AL East.
Starters: Kevin Gausman (8-12, 3.66) vs. Yankees’ TBA