More playoff coverage

There was a lot going on last night and MLB.com was there to give you full access. Here are the links to various stories, columns and pictures that have chronicled the past 24 hours for the American League East Division Champion Orioles…

*The O’s beat the Blue Jays 8-2 to officially claim the crown and you can read last night’s game story here.

*With their first division title since 1997, the Orioles are hungry for more and have their sights set on a World Series. Read more about how they got here and plans for the stretch run here.

*Orioles late PR Director Monica Barlow’s memory was everywhere in the team’s celebration, a touching tribute to the 36-year-old huge impact on the club. You can read that story here.

*Orioles.com associate reporter David Wilson looks at some of the ways the Orioles got to be in this position, with his story up here.

*Wilson also wrote last night’s scene-setter, with plenty of pies to the face taking place at Camden Yards last night. You can read all about the postgame atmosphere here.

*My Facebook page has an album that also captures the AL East clinching, with plenty of pictures from the on-field celebration and in the clubhouse. You can view those (and like my page) here: https://www.facebook.com/brittghiroli

*Here are five reasons the Orioles could win the World Series.

*Orioles manager Buck Showalter has brought back The Oriole Way around Baltimore, columnist Richard Justice writes.

*Ubaldo Jimenez, after a rough two innings, was able to go five and give the Orioles -and himself- a huge lift last night. More on Jimenez is up here.

Os announce a series of rallies

Per a team release…

The Orioles today announced a series of rallies to generate excitement for the team’s push for the postseason. A “We Won’t Stop” street team will travel throughout Baltimore and surrounding areas over the next few weeks, with appearances at the Hard Rock Café in the Inner Harbor on September 18 and October 1, Stevenson University on September 29, and the plaza at Pratt and Light Streets on October 3. Additionally, Miller Lite will sponsor rallies at Mothers Bar and Grille in Federal Hill on October 4 and Bond Street Social in Fells Point on October 5.

Former Orioles players, in addition to the Oriole Bird, will join the promo team for many of the events, including AL BUMBRY from noon to 1:00 p.m. for the first rally on September 18, TIPPY MARTINEZ on September 29, SCOTT McGREGOR on October 1, and LARRY BIGBIE on October 4.

Additional locations and appearances, including visits to taverns and restaurants in Federal Hill, Fells Point and Canton, will take place throughout the next two weeks.

The We Won’t Stop team will give away promotional items, and fans will have the chance to win autographed memorabilia. The current list of rally dates and locations is below, but the schedule for rallies may be updated with new locations. Fans are encouraged to visit http://www.orioles.com/rallies regularly for a complete schedule of events.

9/18 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Hard Rock Café-Inner Harbor 601 E. Pratt St Al Bumbry

9/29 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Stevenson University 11001 Owings Mills Blvd Tippy Martinez

10/1 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Hard Rock Café-Inner Harbor 601 E. Pratt St Scott McGregor

Orioles vs. Blue Jays

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles could clinch the American League East with a win tonight.

*Nick Markakis has been announced as one of baseball’s 30 nominees for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award. The award recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

*Steve Johnson is here to see the team as the Baltimore native is scheduled to undergo surgery on September 24th to have bone spurs removed from his right shoulder.

*Manny Machado, who is rehabbing back from season-ending knee surgery, will fly to Baltimore on Wednesday night and is expected to be with the team for Friday’s game. The Os will also retake their team picture at some point this weekend so it can include Machado and catcher Matt Wieters.

BLUE JAYS LINEUP

Jose Reyes SS
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Adam Lind DH
Dioner Navarro C
Danny Valencia 3B
Munerori Kawasaki 2B
Kevin Pillar LF
Anthony Gose CF

Drew Hutchinson RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Jimmy Paredes 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Nick Hundley C

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

Buck closing in on Billy Martin’s wins

BALTIMORE— It could be a very emotional few days for Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Showalter, whose club could clinch the American League East division during their current three-game series against Toronto, is just one win away from tying his mentor: legendary manager Billy Martin.

Martin, who was killed in a car accident on Christmas Day 1989, was a longtime Yankee manager and had a 1,253–1,013 career record. Showalter entered Monday at 1,252 and said he was made aware that he was closing in on Martin by his daughter, Allie.

“She knows what Billy meant to me, so from that standpoint I actually find it a little sad,” he said of the prospect of tying Martin for 36th on baseball’s all-time win list. “It’s like one of those things — I’d like to give him a few so he can go back up there where he should be.”

Showalter often quotes Martin, who took him under his wing when he was a coach and in the Yankees Minor League system and said he’s been texting some with Martin’s son, Billy Jr.

“He had time for me. And I still don’t know why,” Showalter said of Martin. “He made time for me. When you were with him those mornings, about 11 o’clock on the back fields in Ft. Lauderdale. He would always bring all the Minor League managers in. We’d walk behind him like little chickadees and he’d stop at every drill and talk about this and talk about that, and this is how you need to do this and this is why.”

“People looked at Billy as some roughneck cartoon character who argued with umpires, but he was brilliant. He had such a feel for the game.”

The most important lesson Showalter said he took with him from Martin was to trust your gut and never let numbers and advanced metrics solely dictate your opinion on a player. He was delighted to share the story of Martin, working as a scout in his last year, asking for Showalter’s Double-A reports from Albany, a compliment that resonated with Showalter.

“That was pretty cool when I hung up,” Showalter said. “If you ask me about Billy, I can talk forever. But he wasn’t perfect.

There’s a lot of things you remember in your life, I remember when I got the news that he had been in the car accident. He was one of those guys you felt like he could take yours and beat his and take his and beat yours.”

Orioles vs. Blue Jays Game 1

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Kelly Johnson 3B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Caleb Joseph C

Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Orioles vs. Yankees, Jeter’s last game at Camden Yards

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles will honor Yankee captain Derek Jeter’s career with a brief pre game ceremony and a gift. The O’s enter the day with their magic number to clinch the division at four.

Chris Davis, who is not allowed at Camden Yards during his 25-game suspension, will head down to the team’s spring facility in Sarasota soon to continue working out. The O’s currently have instructional league going on as well. Davis spoke to manager Buck Showalter today and Showalter said the tenor of the talk was good and that Davis “get it” in terms of his punishment.

The O’s, who have a chance to clinch before Thursday’s off day, will adjust the rotation a little bit for this weekend’s series. Showalter said they want to give a few starters an extra day of rest.

YANKEES LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Derk Jeter SS
Brett Gardner LF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Antoan Richardson RF

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Kelly Johnson 3B
Nick Hundley C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

Davis’ teammates react to his suspension

The Orioles clubhouse was in a state of shock on Friday morning as news quickly spread of first baseman Chris Davis’ 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines associated with the Adderall drug.

“I haven’t spoken to him personally,” outfielder Nick Markakis said of Davis, who is not allowed in the clubhouse during his suspension. “I don’t know if anybody else has spoken to him. Everybody makes mistakes. You have to be careful when you make your mistakes. Now is not a good time to make a mistake, but, these are things you have to deal with, and hopefully we can get far enough along for him to come back and help us out.” 

Reliever Darren O’Day, who also played with Davis in Texas, said he did speak with the infielder on Thursday night —which is when Davis found out—but that topic didn’t come. Davis’ absence is the latest hit for an O’s club already without Matt Wieters and Manny Machado, who both suffered season-ending injuries.

“Yeah, it’s similar but different,” O’Day said of the O’s viewing Davis’ situation as another thing to overcome. “You can’t really predict injuries. You failed one test. You can’t put anything in jeopardy and mess around. Yeah, it’s going to be more to overcome for sure.”

O’Day, as the team’s player rep, said he was glad that Major League Baseball was enforcing the drug policy despite the possible ramifications to Baltimore’s playoff aspirations.

“I wish this hadn’t happened to Chris, but I like to know that it’s happening, at least test the right people. As for the TUE’s [therapeutic use exemption], they’ve been tough on it, which is great. It should be a rigorous process to these TUEs. It’s a long season. You’re going to suffer some attrition from the length of the season and the games you have to play so everybody should have to suffer through it the same way.”

Davis said in his statement issued Friday morning that he had a TUE previously but not this season, fueling speculation about what changed and what prompted the slugger -who had already tested positive once— to risk it.

“Look what Adderall is. It’s to get you going, but it’s not something that’s going to sit there and make you look like the Incredible Hulk,” center fielder Adam Jones said. “It’s just something that’s going to get you going for a little bit. It’s unfortunate, but got to move on and stay focused. 

Added Markakis: “He didn’t get in trouble for steroids. He got in trouble for amphetamines. Either way, it was wrong. Either way you look at it. I know he knows that. We have rules to abide by. Those are things we have to do as a baseball player. We have to follow the rules and the guidelines, what they set. They don’t set them for just any rhyme and reason. It is to keep the integrity of the game and protect our players, too. It’s just a bad situation overall, and I think he knows that, and we all know that, and it’s something we have to deal with.”

Davis, who was struggling to follow up his magnificent 2013 season, will now have to face suspicions and judgements about last year’s All-Star campaign in which he hit a Major League-leading 53 homers with 138 RBIs.

“Me personally, I wouldn’t question what he did last year,” Jones said. “But you put it into the billions of other people, let their opinion matter, we don’t care. We care about this clubhouse we don’t care about the opinion outside of it.”

The Orioles went on to win their first game on Friday, a 2-1 11-inning victory over the Yankees.

“It’s a big blow,” starter Kevin Gausman said. “He’s a great teammate and a huge part of this team, so it kind of weighed on us a little bit, but once I took the mound I kind of just tried to focus on the game.”

Gausman said he found out watching TV this morning in the clubhouse.

“Obviously it’s one of those things where questions kind of come to your head,” Gausman said. “We didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t know what it was or how it happened or anything like that. Obviously you’re upset, but I think overall everybody’s just kind of focused right. There’s nothing we can do to change the suspension or anything. The only thing we can go out and win ballgames. That’s what Buck told us. The only way to really show how strong of a team we are is to win.”

Orioles vs. Yankees Game 1- DH

Greetings from Camden Yards, where the Orioles will take on the Yankees for two games today as part of a doubleheader makeup from earlier in the year.

The big news today was Chris Davis’ suspension for 25 games, which you can read all about here. Kelly Johnson is at third base, with Steve Pearce at first.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy returns to the lineup tonight, after missing a week with low back soreness.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Kelly Johnson 3B
Nick Hundley C
Jonathan Schoop

Kevin Gausman RHP

YANKEES LINEUP
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Martin Prado 3B
Brian McCann DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew 2B
John Ryan Murphy C
Brendan Ryan SS
Antoan Richardson RF

Brandon McCarthy RHP

More on Davis’ 25 game suspension

BALTIMORE— The Orioles were dealt another major blow on Friday morning, as Major League Baseball officially announced a 25-game suspension for first baseman Chris Davis due to testing positive for amphetamines associated with the Adderall drug.

The suspension —which means this was Davis’ second violation — is effective immediately, and will cause him to miss the remaining 17 regular season games as well as eight postseason games should Baltimore advance that far. The O’s, who entered Friday’s doubleheader with a 10-game lead in the American League East, are now without catcher Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery), Manny Machado (knee surgery) and Davis as they head into October.

Davis —who hit a Major League-leading 53 home runs with 138 RBIs last year— issued a statement through the MLB Players Association shortly after the news broke, explaining the positive test.

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,” Davis said. “I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”

Davis found out on Thursday night and called manager Buck Showalter to personally deliver the news. The All-Star first baseman also reached out to several of his teammates.

“It was tough. Put a little damper on the Ravens game, that’s for sure,” Showalter said of his conversation with Davis. “You’ve got to learn to deal with the problems and the challenges along the way and if they’re self inflicted there’s no woe-is-me. And this is self-inflicted. Chris is, like he does a lot of things, I think you guys will see the next day or so he’s going to attack it head on.”

Davis, named the Most Valuable Oriole last season, has not been able to replicate his monster 2013. The slugger has hit 26 homers with 72 RBIs in 127 games, but hit just .196 with 173 strikeouts, dealing with prolonged slumps and even the occasional benching. But with Machado out for the season, Davis has shifted to third base quite a bit and has given the team steady defense despite his struggles at the plate.

How will this positive test be viewed in light of Davis’ accomplishments last season?

“At this point it’s not up to me to gauge what’s fair or not fair,” Showalter said of the perception perhaps shifting around Davis. “I know what the positive test was for and believe me I’m not condoning any positive test. Everybody knows what the rules are, so it is what it is. We’ve all made mistakes and none of us would like to have our whole life judged by our worst decision.”

“I’m disappointed,” Showalter added. “I know Chris is too, but it is what it is. We’ll try to deal with it and move on. Timing’s never good, but it’s one of those challenges. It’s why we have this in place. Fully supportive of it. These are the things that everybody knew about beforehand and it’s another way that we want our fans to be able to trust a lot of things.”

The Orioles are 72-55 this season with Davis and 14-4 without him in the lineup. They enter Friday with a magic number of eight and will rely on some of their smaller role players to fill the void. New Oriole Kelly Johnson, who the team acquired in a trade late last month, started at third base in the first game Friday, with Steve Pearce over at first. Showalter said the team is also weighing bringing up an extra infielder from the taxi squad in Sarasota, Fla. But having to cover for a major loss on the field is nothing new for this year’s club.

“We asked that same question where Matt was concerned, where Manny was concerned, where J.J.’s been concerned, where some pitchers we’ve had go down,” Showalter said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys. We’re always looking at the what-ifs. Chris has had some physical issues that we’ve been able to plug some people in that did a nice job for us, so we’ll see.”

Davis suspended 25 games

Chris Davis has received a 25-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension is effective immediately and includes all regular season and postseason games in which he would have been eligible to play. Basically if the O’s get that far, Davis can’t play for the first eight games. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Davis called him last night to tell him the news and he also reached out to several of his teammates. For now, the team has Kelly Johnson at first base and are weighing whether to bring up another infielder from the taxi squat in Sarasota, Fla.

Davis issued a statement on the matter just now: “I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”

Baltimore has 17 regular season games remaining on their schedule (including two Friday against the Yankees) and lead the AL East by 10 games.

Davis is batting .196 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs this season.

I’ll have more on Orioles.com shortly.

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