The Baltimore Orioles won their 90th game of the season Friday night in a 9-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards. A first inning grand slam by Ryan Flaherty highlighted a six run first inning for the Orioles. Chris Tillman was again sensational allowing only a first inning bunt single in eight shutout innings.
Tillman is lined up to pitch the final game of the regular season on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but what if they already have a playoff spot clinched and the AL East is out of their reach? Could we see Tillman pitching for the Orioles in a one game wild-card playoff on Friday?
Jim Thome showed why Dan Duquette made another great move in trading for the veteran DH. Thome went three for four at the plate, while Manny Machado and Flaherty both had two hits each. Flaherty had a first inning error which led to the Red Sox one run, but also drove in five runs. Buck Showalter will have interesting decisions at second base the rest of the season with Flaherty swinging a hot bat. Flaherty is a much better hitter, but Robert Andino is a far superior defensive player at second base. With Flaherty at second base and Chris Davis in right field the Orioles defense isn’t nearly as strong as it was a month ago. Don’t forget a much improved defense is a big reason for the Orioles late season surge.
Unfortunately for the Orioles AL East hopes, the New York Yankees won Friday night, keeping their lead to one game above the Orioles. The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels both won as well. However, the Orioles final opponent of the season, the Rays lost Friday night. The Orioles are one game back of the AL East leading Yankees and are one game ahead of the A’s for the top wild-card spot.
Buckle up for a sold out crowd at Camden Yards Saturday night!