Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's OK, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
The Orioles are not in a great place as of Friday morning. The Red Sox, who they began the week just three games back of in the American League East, just finished sweeping Baltimore and pushing them seven games out of the division lead. Not only that, but this final defeat also knocked the O’s out of the wild card spot they had managed to cling to. The Orioles had a 5.5 game lead in the East on June 29. They have spent 111 days in first place. Now, they’re seven out, half-a-game behind the Tigers for a wild card, and with a problematic schedule left in front of them.
Baltimore isn’t finished, though: their chase of the AL East crown is done for unless the Red Sox collapse in a historic fashion and the Blue Jays fail to gain enough ground to do something about it, but the wild card is right there for the taking even if they don’t have it at this moment. The O’s get three games against the 64-88 Diamondbacks next, and they need to win that series and maybe all three contests, as then they face the Blue Jays and Yankees for three games a piece to finish their season. If they can avoid losing any more ground by the time they face Toronto, Baltimore could easily have won their way comfortably back into a playoff spot by this time next week, since the Jays are one of the teams they're chasing.
If they manage to win that series against the Blue Jays, too, then Toronto will likely find themselves still fighting for a wild card spot over the season’s final weekend, and doing so against the first-place Sox. Boston might be concerned with getting their starters some rest, but they’re still a dangerous opponent. The point is that things aren’t over yet for the Orioles. If their slide continues against the D-Backs, though, then maybe the AL East won’t have three playoff teams after all.
- Since it was David Ortiz’s final regular season series in Baltimore, the Orioles gave him the dugout phone he destroyed back in 2013.
- Mariners’ backup catcher Steve Clevenger tweeted racists remarks about Black Lives Matter and kneeling for the national anthem. Lookout Landing would like to take this moment to tell you that Steve Clevenger is an idiot.
- The whole situation was made worse by Clevenger’s "apology," which included go-to non-apology lines like apologizing to "anyone who was offended" and requests not to judge him or think he’s a racist for tweeting racist things.
- In happier moments, Pitch debuted, and Kate Feldman wrote about it.
- The Braves have a fascinating decision to make this winter: trade Julio Teheran for prospects, or keep him for the next competitive Atlanta squad?
- Asdrubal Cabrera hit a massive walk-off homer for the Mets on Thursday, then gave a bat flip worthy of the moment.
- It’s not all good news for the Mets, as Steven Matz will miss his next start thanks to his shoulder, which might be ending his season early. The Mets just lost Jacob deGrom for the rest of the year, too, so the rotation is starting to get thin.
- Ike Davis helped Israel defeat Great Britain in the first day of Brooklyn’s World Baseball Classic qualifying games. In Brazil vs. Pakistan, a 15-year-old pitched for the former.
- There were roughly 300 people in attendance for the Twins and Tigers on Thursday, despite a paid attendance of over 18,000.
- Chase Utley made a routine play into an amazing flipped out because he kind of had to.