O's game blog: The chance for a division title tonight for the Orioles

With their magic number at two to clinch the American League East championship, the Orioles will host Washington tonight while the Tampa Bay Rays play at Boston with a 6:10 p.m. start time.

If the Orioles win and the Rays lose, the Orioles will be AL East champions later tonight for the first time since 2014, for the 10th time overall. They would also clinch the No. 1 seed throughout the AL playoffs. 

That would mean Baltimore would host the first two games of the American League Division Series on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7 and 8.

The Orioles beat the Nationals 1-0 last night as Kyle Bradish allowed three singles over a season-best eight innings, throwing 104 pitches. Yennier Cano got a save in the ninth as he struck out the side.

The Orioles have gotten three straight starts of seven innings or more for the first time all year. John Means, Kyle Gibson and Bradish have combined to allow two runs in 22 1/3 innings.

The Orioles are 52-15 when they get a quality start and 19-2 when their starting pitcher goes seven or more innings.

Last night the Orioles recorded their fourth 1-0 win of the season. They won a 1-0 game with the only run scoring on a leadoff homer for the second time in team history, joining Aug. 3, 2014 versus Seattle, when Nick Markakis homered.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, this marks the 29th occurrence in the major leagues since 1900, and the first since Philadelphia did so on June 6, 2023 vs. Detroit (Kyle Schwarber). Orioles legend and National Baseball Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson holds the record as the player with the most games in which he drove in the only run in a 1-0 win. Robinson did it 10 times.

The O's have won three in a row by a combined 8-2 score. Their pitchers have allowed nine hits in the last three games over 27 innings. Last night the Orioles improved to 3-0 over Washington, and they have won all three games via a shutout, holding the Nationals to 14 hits and five walks in those games.

The Orioles have won seven of their last 10 games, 15 of 23 and 17 of their past 27 contests. The Birds have won or split 11 of their last 12 series, including the current two-game set against the Nats. At 98-59 (.624), the Orioles have the best record in the AL and second-best in the majors. They need two wins in their final five games to secure the sixth 100-win season in club history and first since 1980 (100-62).

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (6-4, 4.49 ERA) will make his 23rd start tonight. Since he returned from the minors July 17, he is 4-2 with a 2.66 ERA and .589 OPS against. In that span he has allowed two earned runs or fewer nine times and has a 1.099 WHIP.

In his first 10 starts of this year, Rodriguez had a 7.35 ERA, 2.58 homer rate and a 38.8 groundball rate. In his past 12, he has a 2.66 ERA, 0.38 homer rate and 53.7 groundball rate.

Lefty Patrick Corbin (10-14, 5.13 ERA) will make his 32nd start tonight. Over his past five games he has allowed six, eight, two, one and five runs. He is 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA in that span. In 12 second-half starts, he is 4-4 with a 5.54 ERA. 

Honoring Brooks: Yesterday, Robinson passed away at the age of 86. Beginning tomorrow and throughout the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, the team will wear a commemorative “5” uniform patch.

All who wish to remember Robinson are invited to visit his statue inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards at Legends Park. Access began today and will continue daily through Sunday, Oct. 1, from 7 a.m. until four hours prior to first pitch. Access to Legends Park will then re-open during regular game hours. Mourners are asked to enter via Camden Street.

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