The Orioles are in the postseason for the second time in three years following a run of losing seasons that stretched from 1998 to 2011.
Story of the Season
The Orioles have won with a combination of power (they lead the major leagues in home runs) and pitching depth (they entered the day with the third-best ERA in the American League). Though none of their starters has an ERA below 3.00, each pitcher in their current rotation has an ERA below 4.00.
Most Valuable Player
Amazingly, the Orioles' leader in wins above replacement is 31-year-old first baseman and outfielder Steve Pearce (5.5), who hit his 18th home run in Tuesday’s clinching win. Pearce had 17 home runs in 290 games entering this season. He’s excelled both offensively and defensively (18 defensive runs saved) this season.
The Orioles got unexpected contributions in a number of areas. Zach Britton stepped into the closer role and excelled when Tommy Hunter was ineffective. Caleb Joseph has been a capable replacement for injured catcher Matt Wieters.
Circle These Games
What were the most memorable Orioles wins of the season?
May 26 -- With the Orioles trailing by two with two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning against the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez, this game looked like a sure defeat. But Baltimore would tie on a home run by Jonathan Schoop and a double by Nick Markakis. After escaping a situation in which the Brewers had a man on third with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles won in the 10th on Nick Hundley’s RBI single.
June 25-- The Orioles come back from four runs down to tie the White Sox in the eighth on a Cruz grand slam andwin in extra innings on a walk-off wild pitch.
July 7 -- The Orioles exploded for six runs in the 11th inning to beat the Nationals 8-2 in what could be a World Series preview. Chris Davis hit the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning.
September 7 -- Cruz beat the Tampa Bay Rays by himself with a four-hit, seven-RBI game that accounted for all of the team's runs. He hit a three-run go-ahead triple in the ninth inning and then delivered a two-run go-ahead homer in the 11th.
September 12/14 -- The Orioles bookended a series in which they took three of four from the Yankees by winning in walk-off fashion. They rallied from 1-0 down in the 11th inning to win on a two-run single by pinch hitter Jimmy Paredes. In the series finale, they strung together three doubles in a four-batter span to score twice to win against Yankees closer David Robertson.
The Orioles have had their share of ‘Orioles Magic’ with 10 walk-off wins this season. They’ve also prevented their opponents from magical victories. They have only 21 losses in which they blew a lead, the fewest blown leads in the majors.