Seven years have already passed. The Major League Baseball (MLB) Baltimore Orioles confirmed their advancement to the postseason for the first time since Kim Hyun-soo (35, LG Twins) played.
Baltimore won 5-4 after 11 overtimes in the 2023 Major League Baseball home game against the Tampa Bay Rays held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on the 18th (Korean time).
In the top of the 8th inning, with the game tied 1-1, Tampa Bay took the lead by scoring 2 points, including a solo shot by Christian Betancourt, who previously played for the NC Dinos. However, Baltimore caught up with Adley Lutchman’s solo home run in the bottom of the 8th inning, and with the game ending in the bottom of the 9th, Adam Frazier hit a timely hit down the left field line through the shift to tie the score at 3-3.안전놀이터
Both teams went into overtime, scoring one run each in the 10th inning. Then, in the bottom of the 11th inning, Baltimore created a chance with one out and a runner on third base, where Cedric Mullins hit a sacrifice fly toward center field, bringing home Lutchman, the runner on third base. When the victory was confirmed, the Baltimore players rushed to the ground and shared their joy by spraying water.
As a result, Baltimore recorded a season record of 93 wins and 56 losses (0.624 winning percentage). With 13 games remaining in the current season, Baltimore is confirmed to advance to the postseason regardless of the results of the remaining games. Baltimore is currently 2 games behind Tampa Bay, which is in second place in the American League East Division, and is 12 wins behind the Seattle Mariners, who are in 4th place in the league’s wild card, having played the same 149 games.
This is Baltimore’s first time advancing to fall baseball since 2016. Baltimore, which recorded 89 wins and 73 losses under the leadership of then-master Buck Showalter (current New York Mets manager), advanced to the postseason as a wild card. The performance of the slugger trio of Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado, and Chris Davis, who hit over 30 home runs, and closer Jack Britton, who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award with 47 saves and an ERA of 0.54, stood out.
However, in the wild card game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in the 11th inning of overtime, Edwin Encarnacion hit a walk-off three-run home run and lost 2-5, and there was no fall baseball in Baltimore after that.
As Baltimore confirmed its advancement to the postseason for the first time in seven years, Major League Baseball’s official SNS introduced Baltimore’s lineup during the 2016 Wild Card Game. But there was a familiar name. It was Kim Hyun-soo. He played as the second batter and left fielder at the time and recorded no hits in four at-bats. He also experienced a dangerous situation where he was almost hit by a soda can thrown by a Toronto fan while playing defense in the bottom of the 7th inning.
Kim Hyun-soo, who entered the major league in 2016, was included in the opening lineup despite his poor performance during the exhibition game. He showed unexpectedly good batting ability and achieved a batting average of 0.302, 6 home runs, 22 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.801 in 95 games this season. On September 29 of that year, in a game against Toronto, when he was down 1-2 in the top of the 9th inning, he hit a pinch-hit two-run home run, giving Baltimore an advantage in the wild card competition.
Afterwards, Kim Hyun-soo ended his big league challenge at the end of the 2017 season and signed a contract with the LG Twins. It wasn’t until this year, in his sixth year since returning to the KBO League, that Baltimore reconnected with fall baseball.
Baltimore fell to the bottom of the division in 2017, and recorded a whopping 115 losses the following year. In the end, Machado was sold and a virtual rebuild began. From 2018 to 2021, Baltimore was unable to survive, achieving a winning percentage of .300 three times.
However, Baltimore succeeded in rebounding as Mullins, Austin Hayes, who occupied the starting position during the dark period, and Lutchman, the first overall pick in the 2019 rookie draft, showed their potential. Baltimore, whose win-loss margin fell to -11 at one point last year, ran wild, winning 10 straight games in early July, and although it failed to advance to the fall baseball season, it achieved a winning percentage of .500 (0.512) for the first time in six years.
This year, they have been steadily winning since the beginning of the season, showing that they have not lost more than 5 games in a row, including 87 series without a sweep. The bullpen, led by closer Felix Bautista and setup man Yenier Cano, stood out. As Tampa Bay, which showed an overwhelming winning percentage at the beginning of the season, fell in the summer, Baltimore leapt to the top of the division on July 20th and has maintained this position for nearly two months.