The calender has turned to August and last season, that turned out to be good news for the Orioles. They went 18-9 in August 2012 and 20-11 in September to finish 38-20 down the stretch to make the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
With 53 games left in the 2013 regular season, the Orioles are 5 1/2 games out in the AL East and they are a half-game behind Cleveland for the American League’s second wild card spot right now.
There are five teams within 4 1/2 games of that spot with Cleveland at 60-48, leading the Orioles and Texas (60-49) by a half-game. New York is 3 1/2 back and Kansas City is 4 1/2 out of that last wild card playoff berth.
It’s getting tight and tense in the AL pennant race, although O’s manager Buck Showalter said today he has not looked the standings recently.
“I haven’t looked in last five days to a week. Intentionally,” he said.
How much will the experience of playing so well late last season and in a pennant race help the O’s this time around?
“I think it helps some,” Showalter said. “It’s going to be quite a challenge for us to operate at the clip we did last year with our schedule, but we may need to.
“It means a little something, but I don’t think it’s a huge factor. Otherwise you’d just acquire the people with the most experience in that situation and you would win, but it doesn’t work that way.
“Some of the best baseball people I’ve ever been around have been on some losing clubs for a while. Anyone that doesn’t think Nick Markakis is a winning player hasn’t been watching. You saw how he performed when it was on the line last year.
“I’d rather us have it than not have it, but I don’t think it’s some prerequisite. How do you get it? You get it by going through it.”
Chris Tillman (13-3, 3.62 ERA) takes the mound here tonight as the O’s face Seattle. The Orioles are 1-2 against the Mariners on the year, but have won nine of their last 11 against the Mariners overall and went 8-1 against Seattle in 2012.