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When and how the Orioles can clinch a playoff spot – Twin Cities

The Orioles are aiming for their first American League East title since 2014, and this week they can improve their chances while securing a playoff spot for the first time in seven years.

As of Thursday, Baltimore’s magic number for a playoff spot is four, a number determined based on numerous tiebreakers and head-to-head matchups between teams in the wild-card race . In fact, there is no scenario where the Orioles finish with 95 wins – four more than currently – and miss the playoffs.

The earliest Baltimore can secure a playoff spot is Friday, after Game 2 of a critical four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles lead the Rays by two games in the AL East heading into Thursday’s series opener with the Rays.

Here’s a look at when and how the Orioles can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2016.

Magic Numbers Explained

First, let’s quickly explain the magic number. In a simple scenario, it is determined by adding the team’s number of playoff wins to the number of losses of the first team eliminated, then subtracting that sum from 163, or the number of games in the season plus one. . In the case of the AL East, it’s 163 minus Orioles wins (91) plus Rays losses (57) to get a magic number of 15. Every Orioles win or Rays loss drops the number one each.

Determining Baltimore’s magic number for a playoff spot is more complicated. Simply using the Orioles’ 91 wins with the Toronto Blue Jays’ 66 losses mathematically yields a magic number of six. But the Blue Jays are currently in a four-game series with the Texas Rangers, who are a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second of three AL wild card spots, with Toronto one game away behind Seattle. The Mariners and Rangers have seven games remaining, meaning one of them will lose at least four more games.

In fact, there is only one scenario in which a 94-win Orioles team misses the playoffs, which prevents Baltimore’s magic number from being three. It’s a tie atop the AL West between Texas, Seattle and the Houston Astros at 94-68, with subsequent tiebreakers keeping the Orioles away. It’s an extremely complicated and unlikely outcome, but it exists, so the magic number remains at four.

How the Orioles can clinch Friday

The Orioles have already announced that Camden Yards is sold out for Friday’s game, before which longtime outfielder Adam Jones will officially retire with Baltimore. The night would perhaps be the ideal setting to unwind. But there’s only one scenario in which the Orioles can do that.

First, they need to win their first two games against the Rays. Note: Baltimore’s opening win over Tampa Bay will drop its magic AL East number by three, based on an Orioles win, a Rays loss and Baltimore securing the tiebreaker against face with its seventh victory in the teams’ season series.

Beyond their two wins, the Orioles will need help elsewhere. With the Mariners off on Thursday, the only way Baltimore can win on Friday is if Seattle loses to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday and the Rangers lose to the Blue Jays on Thursday and the Cleveland Guardians on Friday. Either team winning a game over those two days leaves open the possibility of an aforementioned three-way tie atop the AL West, which would ultimately make the Orioles the odd-out team.

Regardless, Texas’ loss on Thursday will bring Baltimore’s magic number down to three. The Orioles would also win, making the score two.

How the Orioles can clinch Saturday

There are many outcomes that can lead to Baltimore winning on Saturday. If the Orioles win Thursday and Friday while Texas and Seattle collectively win no more than two of their three games during that span, Baltimore would win on Saturday with a victory against Tampa Bay, no matter what happens elsewhere. The only way the Orioles can win Thursday, Friday and Saturday without losing is if Texas and Seattle do the same and if Houston wins one of its two games against Kansas City, the worst team in the majors.

Even if the Orioles lose one of the Rays’ first two games, Baltimore could secure a playoff spot Friday if Texas and Seattle lose three of their five games combined during that span.

For the Orioles to clinch a playoff spot on Friday while winning just one of their next three games, the Rangers must lose their next three games while Seattle loses their next two games. Any other result pushes back the decisive scenarios at least until Sunday.



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