The Orioles missed their chance to celebrate at Camden Yards Sunday afternoon, but they have officially landed in the postseason for the first time since the 1997 season.
With the Los Angeles Angels falling to the Texas Rangers in the second game of a doubleheader, the Orioles’ magic number for a postseason berth fell to zero as they have assured themselves of at least a wild card spot in the 2012 postseason.
The Orioles will undoubtedly take a few moments to celebrate as they arrive in St. Petersburg for the final three-game set of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Rays, but they remain focused on winning the AL East as they’re deadlocked with the Yankees in first place.
Should they remain tied with the Yankees, the teams would play a tiebreaker game in Baltimore on Thursday that would be considered the 163rd game of the regular season to determine the division champion. The season series was tied 9-9 between the clubs, but the Orioles own the next tiebreaker to host the game by way of their superior division record. Baltimore owns a 42-27 mark against the AL East while New York is only 38-31 as both clubs play their final three games against AL East opponents.
The Oakland Athletics won Sunday to remain one game behind the Orioles in the wild card race. Oakland holds the tiebreaker over the Orioles via their 5-4 record in the head-to-head series this season, meaning they would host the wild card play-in game on Friday should the Orioles not win the division and the teams finish with the same record.
Regardless of how the final three games of the regular season play out, Orioles fans can take satisfaction in knowing their team is heading to a place it hasn’t been in 15 years.