The Orioles are expecting a sellout or close to it for this afternoon’s regular-season home finale.
Will fans get to watch them celebrate on the field after clinching a playoff berth?
It could happen if the Angels lose Game 1 of their doubleheader and the Orioles defeat the Red Sox. But how enthusiastically would the Orioles celebrate? How would they react?
“Honestly and sincerely,” said manager Buck Showalter. “That’s how they’ll act, if it happens. And it’s not something where I’m going to tell them what to have on TV, how to react. They don’t need that. We’re not robots. We’re human beings. I personally think a lot of it will feed off the emotion of the fans and the environment. But don’t think for a second, regardless of what happens today, that they don’t have their minds set on trying to win our division.
“I’m not going to begrudge them anything they feel. I know how I feel personally, but it doesn’t matter what I feel. It’s what they feel. I just want them to be themselves and feel what they feel and react how you feel.
“They’re open. Just like that kid who can’t hide what they’re feeling. They wear it on their sleeve. I think that’s what you’ll probably see, and whatever it is, it is.”
Showalter was asked for his opinion on Adam Jones being voted Most Valuable Oriole.
“That’s great,” Showalter said. “He’d be the first to tell you there was a lot of competition, which is good, too. I guess there’s competition every year, but on a different level. There were good choices everywhere, and anytime you get one of your players recognized like that, you like it, especially with the way Adam’s playing.
“I figured it might end up in a seven- or eight-way tie, and you could have made a case.”
Showalter mentioned again how Jones hustled on a routine ground ball to shortstop last night, reached on an error and later scored.
“He plays,” Showalter said. “He’s there. You can count on him.”
The big contract hasn’t changed Jones, and that’s not always the case with other players.
“I didn’t know Adam that well,” Showalter said. “When I came here, a lot of people talked and I said, ‘Let me make up my own mind.’ One of the toughest questions that a GM/owner asks a manager and coaches is, ‘Do you think we can trust this guy?’ That’s hard. And I think Adam’s earned that trust.”
Jason Hammel will be limited to 70-75 pitches in Monday’s simulated game in Sarasota.
Brian Roberts will visit the Orioles while they’re at Tropicana Field. He lives in Sarasota.
Nick Markakis will join Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey on O’s Xtra today at 1 p.m. on MASN.
Here are a few more notes to munch on if you saved room at breakfast:
With one more save, Jim Johnson would become the 10th pitcher to record 50 saves in a season since it became an official statistic in 1969. He would join Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Thigpen, Eric Gagne (twice), John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Myers, Rod Beck, Dennis Eckersley and Mariano Rivera (twice) in the 50-save club. He’d be the sixth pitcher to do it in the American League.
The Orioles (Jones/Chris Davis) are one of six teams to have two players with 30 or more home runs, joining the Angels (Trumbo/Pujols), Yankees (Granderson/Cano), Pirates (McCutchen/Alvarez), Brewers (Hart/Braun) and Rangers (Hamilton/Beltre).
In 59 games against the AL East, Davis is batting .305 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs. He’s also 1-0 as a pitcher.
In 68 games against the East, Jones is batting .301 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs. In 57 games, Mark Reynolds is batting .271 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs.
With four games left, the Orioles are playing .603 ball in the AL East (41-27). The last time they had a higher winning percentage in the division was 1980 (.628, 49-29).
New York Mets Senior Director of Media Relations Shannon Forde is battling Stage 4 cancer. A fundraiser will be held Nov. 1 in New Jersey to help support the Forde family. For information or to donate, visit hopeshinesforshannon.com.
Update: Nate McLouth hit his third leadoff home run this season to give the Orioles a quick 1-0 lead.
Two more runs scored in the inning after Zach Stewart loaded the bases with no outs. Matt Wieters grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and Jim Thome again beat the infield shift by slapping an RBI single into left field.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are losing to the Blue Jays, 2-1, in the fourth inning and the Angels are losing to the Rangers, 4-1, in the fourth.
Update II: J.J. Hardy has singled and hit his 22nd home run - and his first on J.J. Hardy Bobblehead Day.
Thome singled to score Jones, who reached on an infield hit and stole second base, to increase the Orioles’ lead to 5-0 in the third inning and knock out Stewart.
Update III: Chris Davis has singled and hit his 31st home run this season, increasing the Orioles’ lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning.
Davis has five homers in his last four games. He’s homered in four straight, tying Nolan Reimold’s streak April 13-17.
Joe Saunders is being ignored today, but he’s held the Red Sox to one run - Cody Ross’ homer - in five innings. He’s allowed five hits, walked none and struck out four.
The Angels are losing, 4-2, in the sixth and the Yankees are losing, 5-2, in the sixth.
Update IV: Daniel Nava hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 6-3.
The Orioles rallied in the bottom of the seventh without scoring. McLouth singled, stole second base and took third on Hardy’s sacrifice bunt. Reliever Chris Carpenter walked Davis intentionally, and Jones bounced into a double play.
Today’s attendance: 41,257. The Orioles drew 2,102,240 in 79 home dates. Last year, they drew 1,755,461 in 80 dates.
The Yankees and Blue Jays are tied, 5-5, in the seventh. The Angels are losing to the Rangers, 4-3, in the seventh.
Update V: Saunders left to a standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd after allowing three runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings, with no walks, five strikeouts and two home runs. He threw 90 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Darren O’Day has replaced him in the eighth.