Do the Baltimore Orioles Still Make the Playoffs?

By Lance Rinker

Is there playoff baseball in the Baltimore Orioles future without Nick Markakis? That’s what we are going to find out over the remaining 23 games of the season. The Orioles are 78-61 on the season, tied atop the American League East with the New York Yankees, and if it weren’t for C.C. Sabathia hitting Markakis on the left hand with a 93 mph fastball last night the outlook for the rest of the season would be a bit more positive.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting the Orioles season is done without Markakis because they managed to survive well enough without him earlier in the year. But, it’s not going to be easy by any means though.

With Markakis in the lineup the Orioles are 62-42 on the year and without him they are 16-19. More importantly though, the Orioles are 33-21 since Markakis took over the leadoff spot in the lineup – a spot in which the Orioles struggled mightily before inserting Markakis there.

Which would you rather have – a team that has a .596 win percentage, or a team that has a .611 win percentage?

That may not seem like much to some but there’s actually a pretty big difference. Over the course of a full season you’re talking about a difference of approximately three wins. Three wins is a large number when your team is in the middle of a pennant race and every win matters (a lot). If we take those win percentages and map them over the remaining 23 games then we are talking about an expectation of 13 or 14 wins.

Unfortunately the Orioles don’t have the luxury on counting on any of that at this point. Markakis is done for the season and without him in the lineup the Orioles have just a .457 winning percentage. If that’s how the Orioles end up playing over these final 23 games then it’s very possible they will not win their division, nor would they even get into the postseason as a wild-card.

At a .457 clip the Orioles would really only be expected to win about 10 more games, maybe, and that would put them at just 88 wins on the season. With the Tampa Bay Rays right on their heels and the Los Angeles Angels who have been playing out of their minds the same as the Orioles have over the last month are also back in the wild-card chase. If the Orioles finish with 88 wins I do not believe that will be enough to make a postseason appearance.

I’m sure all of us would happily accept 88 wins as the final number for the Orioles when the season ends because of how the team did last season, but things changed once everyone realized how serious and for real the Orioles were in trying to win the division. Now 88 wins and no postseason appearance would seem like a disappointment for the players and the fans considering just how far they have come, and just how hard they have fought to be in the position they are in today.

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