The final weekend of the minor league regular season has arrived and Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie and short-season Single-A Aberdeen still have playoff hopes with a few days left.
Bowie faces an interesting scenario. The Baysox need to finish second and are four games behind second-place Erie as they begin a five-game series at Erie with a doubleheader tonight.
If Bowie sweeps the five-game series, the Baysox will make the playoffs, but anything short of that will end their year on Monday.
Bowie is 69-68. Jake Pettit (6-6, 4.53 ERA) and Devin Jones (4-6, 5.73 ERA) are tonight's starters.
The Norfolk Tides are 74-65 and lead Rochester by a half-game with four to play for an International League wild-card berth. Norfolk has not been in the playoffs since 2005. Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 4.71 ERA) pitches at Charlotte tonight against former Oriole Jason Berken. The Tides end the regular season with three at home against Durham starting Saturday.
They could get in the playoffs or fall short by just a half-game. In the minors, some rained out games are never made up and teams don't always finish with the same number of games played.
In the event that Norfolk and Rochester did finish tied, the Red Wings win the tiebreaker with a 6-2 season record against the Tides.
The Aberdeen IronBirds are a half-game back of first-place Brooklyn in their division in the New York-Penn League as they look for their first playoff berth.
The IronBirds have six games left, starting with tonight's home game against Hudson Valley. Starting tomorrow, they play at first-place Brooklyn in a huge two-game series. They return home Monday to host Lowell for three to end the regular season.
Aberdeen is 35-31, has won four of six and is 15-10 over the last 25 games.
Aberdeen outfielder Conor Bierfeldt has 11 extra-base hits over his last 16 games with six doubles, a triple and four homers. In 22 August games, Bierfeldt is batting .342 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.099 OPS. Bierfeldt was the Orioles' 29th-round pick this year out of Division III Western Connecticut State University.
The O's Gulf Coast League entry ended its season Thursday in second place, five games out, with a record of 30-30.
Play is over in the Dominican Summer League and the O's DSL-1 team went 37-33 and the DSL-2 squad finished 33-38.
Single-A Frederick and Single-A Delmarva end their seasons Monday with the Shorebirds at 54-79 and the Keys at 59-76.
The X-man says goodbye: I reached Xavier Avery this afternoon as he was packing his bags in the visiting clubhouse in Charlotte. He'll catch a flight to the West Coast in the morning after his trade today to the Seattle Mariners. He will join the M's Triple-A Tacoma club for the final few days of the minor league season.
He said today's trade caught him off guard but he had a few words about the Orioles on his final days in the organization.
"I'm thankful for all Baltimore has done for me," he said. "They drafted me and coached me and I appreciate everything they've done for me. Now I look forward to the opportunity with Seattle."
I'll have a few more comments from Avery in the morning. I've interviewed him several times since the O's selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft. A good guy and I sure wish him well with his new organization.