By Joe Short
There’s a time in every season when a team realises it won’t be making the playoffs and for Baltimore Orioles fans that time was Wednesday night. Buck Showalter’s men, who have now ended their 11-day tour of the west coast, suffered a third successive one-run defeat to the Diamondbacks as they lost further ground in the AL East.
Two of those defeats came in extra innings and the first was lost deep in the ninth. The Orioles have had pitching problems all season but few MLB betting fans predicted their closing defence would be quite this bad.
Baseball is about narrow margins and Baltimore, who have run a tight ship all season, lost it when it most mattered. Darren O’Day lost Monday’s game, TJ McFarland threw it away a day later and last night Bud Norris lost his 10th of the season. The closers just weren’t good enough and Showalter knows it.
Baltimore’s position in their division is teetering between success and failure right now and what Showalter didn’t need was to be swept by a competitor. The D-Backs are running along at the same pace as Baltimore and are striving for a Wildcard place in the playoffs themselves. Two like-minded teams came head to head this week and it was the closers that did it for Arizona.
So where does this sweep leave the Orioles? They’re six behind AL East leaders Boston and three off second-place Tampa Bay (as of Thursday morning) yet the problem isn’t simply this gap. Baltimore have the best offense in the majors yet no rotation or bullpen to boast of at all. Granted, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen are both stellar starters but that isn’t enough to see the Orioles into October.
With little time to rectify the problem and both the Red Sox and Rays going strong, fans who bet on MLB with Betfair should back away from Baltimore and instead back Tampa Bay to make the playoffs.