With a 5-2 win against the New York Yankees Oct. 2, the Orioles secured their third postseason berth in the last five years. The Birds head to Toronto for a one-game Wild Card elimination contest Oct. 4, with the winner moving on to face the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series beginning Oct. 6. As the Orioles look for a little October magic, here are six notes to consider:
1. As Successful A Pairing As You'll Find In The AL
Since the 2012 season, when Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter joined forces, the Orioles' 444 regular-season wins are the fourth most in MLB during the span, ranking only behind the Cardinals (461), Nationals (458) and Dodgers (455). The Orioles have nine more wins than the next winningest AL team in the past five seasons, the Yankees. This is in stark contrast to 2006-2011, when the Orioles averaged 94 losses per season.
2. Long Ball Leaders, No Matter The Last Name
With 47 home runs during the 2016 season, Orioles right fielder Mark Trumbo became the fourth consecutive Orioles hitter to lead the majors in home runs. With Nelson Cruz leading in 2014, Chris Davis in 2015 (and 2013) and Trumbo this season, the Orioles are the first team to have three consecutive home run titles from three different hitters.
3. Three Orioles Teams' Troubles With Triples
The 2016 Orioles set a major league record for the fewest triples by a team in an entire season with six. There were 19 individual hitters with more triples than the entire Orioles roster this year. With this new low, the Orioles surpassed the previous mark of 11 triples in a season, set, coincidentally, by the 1981 and 1998 Baltimore Orioles.
4. Unprecedented Success, No Matter The Organization
Orioles closer Zach Britton became the fourth pitcher to record 40 or more saves in a season without any blown saves, joining Eric Gagne (55 for the Dodgers in 2003), Jose Valverde (49 for the Tigers in 2011) and Brad Lidge (41 for the Phillies in 2008). Of the 489 pitchers to record a season of 30 or more saves, Zach Britton's 0.54 ERA is the lowest in major league history. He also held opposing batters to a .209 slugging percentage. During Yankees great Mariano Rivera's 19-year career, the lowest slugging percentage he allowed in a season was .228 in 1996.
5. Inexplicably Unproductive
Backup Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph finished the 2016 season without a single RBI despite 29 of his 141 plate appearances coming with at least one runner in scoring position. Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, Joseph is the first non-pitcher to register 97 or more plate appearances without an RBI.
6. When Facing Elimination, History's Kinder To Baltimore
In Blue Jays history, they have played five postseason games facing elimination, going 1-4 in those contests. Their first win in that context came in Game 5 of the 2015 AL Championship Series, before losing to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals in Game 6. In 14 total games where the Orioles faced postseason elimination, they have a combined 5-9 record.