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The Orioles’ improbable season marches on

Oct 6, 2012, 12:01 AM EDT

Orioles Getty Getty Images

For most of the regular season, the surprising success of the Orioles was downplayed because of a negative run-differential and their penchant for winning one-run and extra-inning games. Going into tonight’s Wild Card game against the Rangers, most prognosticators didn’t give the Orioles much of a chance because they were using left-hander Joe Saunders against a lineup stacked with right-handed hitters in a venue whether he had fared poorly during his career. However, consistent with everything they did during the regular season, the Orioles just keep defying expectations.

The Orioles topped the Rangers 5-1 tonight in Arlington for their first playoff win since Game 5 of the 1997 ALCS. They’ll now advance to take on the Yankees in the ALDS beginning Sunday at Camden Yards. Yes, there will be playoff baseball in Baltimore. And that’s pretty cool.

We have seen an unlikely cast of characters play important roles for the Orioles this season and the same was the case tonight. Joe Saunders, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in August, tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Nate McLouth, who was signed to a minor league deal in June after being released by the Pirates, had an RBI single in the seventh inning and a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Darren O’Day, who was claimed off waivers from the Rangers last November, tossed two innings of scoreless relief. Manny Machado, a 20-year-old who made his major league debut in August, had an RBI single in the top of the ninth to provide some extra insurance for the bullpen. Just another exercise in “Oriole Magic.”

The Orioles have a pretty tough task ahead of them against the playoff-tested Yankees, who will have CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte waiting for them. As such, they aren’t going to shed that underdog label anytime soon. But you know what? They’ve worn it well so far.

  1. hardballtalkusername - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    And Texas’ collapse is complete.

    • chill1184 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:05 AM

      Yea but since they made the playoffs the msm will throw it under the rug unlike the 2011 Red Sox.

      • shaggylocks - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        Throw under the bus? Swept under the rug? You’re mixing your metaphors. And wait, the MSM swept the 2011 under the rug? I sure as hell don’t remember that…

      • shaggylocks - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

        *the 2011 Red Sox

      • chill1184 - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM

        @shaggylocks

        No the MSM didn’t sweep the 2011 Red Sox under the rug, they got the same treatment the 2007 Mets did abid worse because the MSM was largely in the tank for the 2011 Red Sox. What I’m saying is that while some will consider the 2012 Rangers as a collapse, the media won’t regard it as such because the Rangers made the playoffs

    • approvenothing - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:06 AM

      Just wait for all the fans to throw the panic switch. The clock is ticking…

  2. ninjasports - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    ALDS preview -> http://ninjasports.net/al-division-series-preview/

  3. approvenothing - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Sigh. Ok. Horrific ending to what was supposed to be a great season for the Rangers. One can pray that J.D. doesn’t do what the Sox did and fire Washington, all thats needed is pitching, and we need to just reinforce our offense with some consisent hitters, nothing to spectacular.

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:22 AM

      Exactly. Winning 93 games means you’ve been doing something right, not failing because you fell out quickly in the postseason. As frustrating as it is to come so close twice in a row and then this year, winning 90 games 3 years straight means your doing your job well.

      Keep it up Texas, the title will come.

  4. historiophiliac - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Old Man Thome and the Bad News Bears win again!

  5. chill1184 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    In the playoffs, anyone can beat anyone

  6. rockthered1286 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Shhhhhhh……

    Even Worse for Rangers fans? Saunders was the player of the game. Ouch

    Buckle Up Boys!!!

  7. crabcakesfootball - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Conventional Wisdom gets a beatdown tonight.

    Nice picks Craig!!!!

    Go O’s and Nats!!!

  8. kvanhorn87 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    Now that is a team I can root for. Pulling for O’s, A’s or Tigers

  9. husky2score - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    O-R-I-O-L-E-S… MAGIC MAGIC!!!

    • ravens1762 - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      orioles magic feel it happen, O-R-I-O-L-E-S

  10. natslady - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Texas looked terrible. Just bad. Like in Game 7 last year. They got the gut punched out of them and couldn’t forget it and recover. They got a very good effort from Darvish, so don’t say “momentum is only as good as your next day’s pitcher.” They put up NO OFFENSE vs. Joe Saunders. Joe Saunders, y’know, they guy who was pitching in the first inning when Showalter already had his bullpen up.

  11. ravenscaps48 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Somewhere up there… Wild Bill is leading the Roar from 34! OOOOOOOOOOO-RRRR-IIII-OOOO-LLLL-EEEE-SSSS, ORIOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ravens1762 - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      makes you think about all those guys that have passed on and how much they would love this (my dad included in that). rex barney, chuck thompson, cal sr., elrod, to name a few. but this one is for flanny.

  12. wethog66 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    WHY NOT!!!

  13. ihps247 - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    SO proud of the O’s. Whatever the outcome in the playoffs, I am still proud of them.

    Now I need all the first and second rows to be occupied by O’s fans at Camden Yards because I swear to God if another Jeffery Maier ruins our chances………………..

    • chill1184 - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      One has to wonder if their is karmic payback waiting for the Yankees at Camden Yards because of Maier all those years ago.

  14. rockthered1286 - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Fun fact: O’s sold out alds games 1&2 in less than 10 minutes. Well everything except single seats. Hoping for a sea of orange!!! Keep those pinstripes on the wrong side of Eutaw Street!!

    • jayscarpa - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      An Orioles-Yankees rivalry again! Great for the fans. I can’t wait.

    • rarson - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      There’s about 2,200 tickets left on StubHub. SRO starts around $95 and upper reserve (the cheapest tickets you can get with an actual seat) are at $122. I would have jumped at the chance to buy some tickets, but unfortunately I’m going to be out of town this weekend.

  15. legacybroken - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Tigers chances of making the World Series went up alot last night.We match up well against all the remaining 3 challengers. Rangers were the one team
    That really scared me.

    • psuravens19 - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      I’d be worried about beating the A’s if I were you…

      • lncrprl - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        Detroit will take care of the A’s………Then we’ll take care of Detroit! Of course we have to beat the Skankees first. No problem! O’s SPLIT at home……Take 2 OF 3 on the road……..Haven’t you heard?……We’re “ROAD WARRIORS”!!!

  16. buffalo65 - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    What’s that noise? Oh just Texas’s window closing. Opportunity missed.

  17. buffalo65 - Oct 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    Baltimore a nice story, 90 loss team next year but a nice story now for sure.

    • lncrprl - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      How much MONEY ya got?

    • rarson - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      You’re an idiot.

    • nofunleague - Oct 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      What a dick

  18. rockthered1286 - Oct 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    @buffalo65-
    Obviously 90 loses because you know exactly what they’ll do in FA, which players return from injury and how deep they get

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