The Baltimore Orioles accomplished step one last week when they clinched their first playoff berth since 2016.
Now they have their sights set on a division title, and they can check off that goal Thursday.
They had a chance on Wednesday, but that would have only been possible if they beat the Nationals and the Red Sox took down the Rays. Only half of that equation happened, with the Orioles doing their part but, since Boston fell to the Rays, they were unable to clinch.
So Baltimore will move on to Thursday, where they will control their own fate with a magic number of one. The Rays are off, so the only way the Orioles can claim the division is by beating the Red Sox.
First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. Dean Kremer will be on the mound for the Orioles, with Chris Sale pitching for the Red Sox.
What happens if the Orioles clinch the division?
Well, aside from taking their first AL East title since 2014, it would give them a first-round bye and home-field advantage until the World Series.
If the Orioles win the division, their playoff journey would start in the American League Division Series on Oct. 7. They would face the winner of the wild-card series between the No. 4 seed and the No. 5 seed.
Here’s what the best-of-five schedule would look like. All times are TBD. Fox and FS1 will air all ALDS games.
ALDS Game 1: Oct. 7 at Camden Yards.
ALDS Game 2: Oct. 8 at Camden Yards.
ALDS Game 3: Oct. 10 at TBD.
ALDS Game 4, if needed: Oct. 11 at TBD.
ALDS Game 5, if needed: Oct. 13 at Camden Yards.
What happens if the Orioles don’t win the division?
If the Rays pass the Orioles and take the American League East, the Orioles would take the top wild-card spot and be the No. 4 seed. They would host the best-of-three wild-card series games.
Times are TBD. All games would be on ESPN platforms.
ALWC Game 1: Oct. 3 at Camden Yards.
ALWC Game 2: Oct. 4 at Camden Yards.
ALWC Game 3, if needed: Oct. 5 at Camden Yards.