[Down the stretch is a daily Orioles Insider blog that will set up the coming day for the O's and their American League competition as the push for the postseason continues.]
About last night
Orioles blasted by Yankees in series finale
Markakis to have thumb surgery Tuesday, could quicken recovery
Cowherd: Nate McLouth will play an important role for O's
Notes: Chris Davis excited to be back in the field
Sunday's full scoreboard
AL East Standings
NYY 79-61 --
BAL 78-62 1
TB 77-63 2
AL Wild-Card Standings
OAK 79-60 --
BAL 78-62 --
TB 77-63 1
LAA 77-63 1
DET 73-66 4.5
Other games that matter
Tigers (Porcello) at White Sox (Quintana), 8:10 p.m.
Athletics (Parker) at Angels (Haren), 10:05 p.m.
Thought of the day
Think back to Thursday, before the series against the Yankees started. There was a sense that those four games were going to give us an idea whether the Orioles' chances of winning the AL East were real.
Well, the series is over, but have we learned anything?
The Yankees are still capable of bashing the ball and covering up the deficiencies on their pitching staff. And the Orioles still have a knack of winning close games, even at times when they probably shouldn't.
So, they split the four games, the Yankees remain a game ahead and this wild ride will continue with the several possible destinations still on the map.
If you look at the playoff probablilites from coolstandings.com (a stat that ESPN uses and includes on its standings page), the Orioles head into today's off-day with a 39.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason and just a 14.4 percent chance of winning the division.
Tampa Bay is still a game behind the O's, but the Rays have a 60.8 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 30.8 percent chance of winning the division.
In other words, if you throw all the numbers is a blender, the Orioles are still significant undergogs as they welcome the Rays for a three-game series starting tomorrow.
But again, we already knew that.
What we learned from this weekend -- or at least what was reaffirmed -- is that all the numbers and probabilities aren't going to make a difference down the stretch.
There's no number that can predict that a key player like Nick Markakis or Mark Teixeira is going to get injured. There's no percentage that can determine when a key call goes one team's way over the other.
The later this goes and the longer these teams all stay separated by a small margin, the tougher this race is going to be to predict. That unpredictability favors the Orioles -- the ugly duckling of the bunch, statistically speaking.
So, no, they didn't take control of the AL East this past weekend or create any separation in the wild-card standings. But in keeping those races right where they were, the O's actually did help their chances some.
With O's-Rays, Tigers-White Sox and A's-Angels all on the schedule this week, there will be plenty of opportunities for teams to jump around. If the Orioles can get through this segment of the schedule and stay in a playoff position, it's another checkpoint and another step closer to their goal.