Video: Orioles complete 5-4-3 double play to advance to the ALCS

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The Orioles were in a bit of hot water after bringing a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Closer Zach Britton, who had been fantastic all year long for the O’s, allowed back-to-back doubles to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez. The Tigers halved their deficit and put the tying run in scoring position with no outs.

Britton buckled down, striking out Bryan Holaday after failing to bunt the runner over to third base. Orioles manager Buck Showalter called for the intentional walk to Nick Castellanos, putting runners at first and second but also setting up a potential game-ending double play. As fate would have it, the intentional walk worked, as Britton induced pinch-hitter Hernan Perez to hit a weak ground ball to third baseman Ryan Flaherty, who made the toss to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who completed the double play with a throw to first baseman Steve Pearce.

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After sweeping the Tigers out of the ALDS, the Orioles await the winner of the ALDS between the Royals and Angels. Game 3 is under way in Kansas City. The Royals enter play with a 2-0 series lead. The ALCS will begin on Friday, October 10. The Orioles will be participating in the ALCS for the first time since 1997.

Hinch, Luhnow, will be eligible in 2021 even if there are no games in 2020

A.J. Hinch (left) and Jeff Luhnow (right)
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You no doubt recall that former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow were given the one-year bans and were subsequently fired in January due to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It’s possible, however, that each of them could be back in baseball without having missed a single game.

That’s the report from Buster Olney of ESPN, who has learned that Hinch and Luhnow will become eligible in 2021 even if there are no games played in the 2020 season. The reason: Hinch and Luhnow’s suspensions are tied to “the end of the 2020 postseason.” In contrast, players who are suspended for PED offenses for violations of the league’s domestic violence policies are suspended for a set number of games. Their suspensions will not begin until games begin and, if the number of games in the 2020 season ends up being fewer than the number of games in their suspension, it will carry over to 2021.

It would not shock me a bit if another team hired Hinch at some point down the road. And, despite the league’s finding that Luhnow fostered a “toxic” environment in the Astros’ front office, I would not be at all surprised if he were hired as some sort of advisor down the road and, potentially, found himself running a team again. His tenure in Houston was discovered to be objectively awful from an ethical perspective, but (a) he won; and (b) he cut costs, and those are the two biggest priorities for most teams. Not necessarily in that order.