At this point of the season, I am very shocked at what I’ve been seeing. To believe that this kind of action has been going on mostly unnoticed & undocumented is appalling.
What I’m referring to, of course, is that the Orioles are a dominant team looking towards the playoffs. At 14 games above .500 (60-46) following yet another impressive game (with a very impressive gem of a play), they are tightening their grip over the AL East.
Following the All Star break, the Orioles have gone 8-4 so far against the top three AL West teams, which includes the top two teams in the MLB in terms of power rankings & win records. They could very well sweep the Angels later today, and following last night’s game have already won the season series. This says a lot due to how well regarded the Angels have been this year, with their impressive wins, quality pitching staff, and numerous all-stars swinging the bat.
Much of the media attention when it comes to baseball this year has gone towards the western teams. There has been a large consensus that the World Series will almost certainly have either the Angels or Athletics for the AL, and likely the Dodgers in the NL. To see the long forgotten Orioles, who occupy the same division as the top two media favorites: the Yankees & Red Sox, challenge the so called dominance of the west is now catching up to the sports writers.
In the last few days, I’ve seen sports writers turn 180 with their attitudes towards the O’s playoff chances. Before, the narrative was, “let’s just see if they can even withstand the brutal 10 away game stretch vs the top three AL West teams and see if they still have the AL East lead.” Now, the Orioles are just barely ranked 3rd in power rankings, and could go up to 2nd as the week ends. Yes, the sports writers, especially at ESPN, often get sidetracked and over-cover the Red Sox & Yankees still, but they are starting to turn and write better stories regarding the Orioles’ winning season.
The O’s currently have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays that seems to have been at the same number since the All Star game. The Blue Jays have been a team full of streaks this year. This could just be their winning trend that may lax in coming days/weeks. The Yankees are third in the division and 5 1/2 games behind the Orioles. They are not expected to do much for the rest of the season. The Red Sox occupy the bottom the division and are “sellers” during the trade deadline, as they are trying to get prospects for some of their players while they endure a losing season. The Rays have just gone through a big winning streak and are still 4th in the division, but sports writers are considering them a dark horse for the playoffs, despite both the Yankees & Blue Jays in the way.
After the O’s finish up their series against the Angels today, they will host the Mariners for a 3-game set. That will make it 16 straight games against the top three AL West teams, with the Orioles already 8-4 against the competition so far. After the Mariners, they head to DC for a make up game against the Nationals. Then, they can look to increase their division lead when the O’s travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays in a 3-game series.
Of course, if baseball is not your thing, the football preseason kicks off this Sunday with the Giants facing the Bills in Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame game (on NBC, 8:00pm). The Ravens play the 49ers next Thursday, August 7th, for their first preseason game.
Wishing the Orioles the best of luck to keep O’s magic going!
PHOTO CREDITS: FACEBOOK.COM/ORIOLES