Magic number update: How the Orioles can win the American League East

Published 9/22/2023 11:20 p.m. EDT, Updated 9/22/2023 11:22 p.m. EDT

The Baltimore Orioles accomplished step one Sunday when they clinched their first playoff berth since 2016.

Now, they have their sights set on a division title.

The Orioles have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Rays in the American League East. On Friday, the Guardians walked it off to beat the Orioles. But, because the Blue Jays beat the Rays, Baltimore’s magic number fell to six. That number can decrease with any Orioles win or Rays loss, and the Orioles own the series tiebreaker in the event they end the season with the same record.

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.

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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.