Baltimore Orioles fans have been on cloud nine since the team clinched the American League East title earlier this week, but their excitement will undoubtedly be dampened by this latest piece of devastating news. Felix Bautista will undergo Tommy John surgery, according to Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post.

The All-Star reliever, and at one time a sleeper AL Cy Young candidate, exhausted all his options before coming to this brutal conclusion. It seemed as if Bautista had an outside chance of returning from his partial UCL tear, which he suffered near the end of August, but general manager Mike Elias said they simply “ran out of time,” per Janes.

On Tuesday, the 28-year-old Dominican Republic native threw his first mound session since landing on the injured list, but obviously the elbow did not hold up as well as anticipated. He ends his career year with a dazzling 1.48 ERA, 33 saves and an incomprehensible 110 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched.

Although it was always risky to count on Felix Bautista for the MLB playoffs, his definite absence is a big blow to the AL's No. 1 seed. When there were questions about the starting pitching rotation, he and Yennier Cano held things down in the bullpen. If those concerns reappear for the Orioles, manager Brandon Hyde must get creative to survive games late.

Baltimore has done just fine without Bautista thus far, however, and could maintain this torrid pace into October. Fans deserve to properly enjoy this momentous postseason berth, but it will be difficult to ignore this demoralizing injury update. Especially since it can extend past the 2024 season.