Orioles beat Blue Jays to clinch AL East title

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The Orioles have won the AL East for the first time since 1997, beating the Blue Jays 8-2 on Tuesday to put the division out of reach for the second-place Yankees.

Baltimore improved to 91-60, putting the team in position to claim the second seed in the American League and play the Central champs in the ALDS. Overtaking the Angels for the top seed is a possibility, but the Orioles are 3 1/2 games back, pending tonight’s results.

In the 17 years since the Orioles last won the AL East, they went to the postseason just once, losing to the Yankees in the ALDS in 2012. From 1998-2011, they finished higher than fourth just once (third in 2004) and finished with 20 games of the AL East leader just once (13 1/2 games back in 2000).

The Orioles will be gunning for their first World Series trip since 1983, when they topped the Phillies in five games to win the series. Cal Ripken Jr. was the AL MVP that year. Rick Dempsey won World Series MVP honors.

This year’s squad will enter the postseason without three players who projected to be among their most valuable: third baseman Manny Machado, catcher Matt Wieters and first baseman Chris Davis. The first two suffered season-ending injuries, while Davis will have to sit out the first eight games of the postseason after testing positive for Adderall.

What the Orioles do have is their most complete pitching staff in decades, possible home run champ Nelson Cruz and another likely top-10 MVP finisher in Adam Jones. They’ll be viewed as October underdogs because of their lack of star power, but they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

More coverage from CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff, on site in Baltimore

Jake Arrieta was not a fan of Bryce Harper’s behavior last night

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As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.

We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:

“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.

“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”

For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.