Writing off the Baltimore as an "easy win" is no longer the case. After years of below average play and selling off the team, the Baltimore Orioles have entered the chat this season. They are on cruise control right now, coming in to todays matchup with a nine game win streak.
The last time they were relevant was back in 2016, when they finished 2nd in the AL East with an 89-73-0, ultimately losing to the Blue Jays in the Wild Card. The last time the O's were even a .500 team was back in 2017. Buck Showalter was leading the squad filled with Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Matt Weiters.
Buck is now the Met's Skipper, and Machado is potentially the NL MVP. And for the Orioles, they have an entirely revamped roster mixed with young budding talent and solid vets. They are proving to baseball that they have that dog in them and won't back down.
The fall in a line of weird sports trivia stats with this impressive feat, becoming the second team in MLB history to lose 110 or more games in a season and then have a nine-or-more-game winning streak in the next, They’re also the fourth team since 1900 to win at least nine straight games the season after finishing with the worst record in MLB. The rebuild is working.
The reason I provide this monologue is because the O's enter into today with a 44-44 record. Every team in the AL East has at least a .500 record now.
We already knew this division was the heat factory. The Yankees have been playing on a different level, and the trio of the Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays occupy the all three of the American League Wild Card spots. Now the Orioles are part of the mix, only a mere 2 games back from that final Wild Card position.
This is a rare feat. It's only the 4th time in the Wild Card Era (excluding 2020) that a division has had all of its teams at or above .500 on July 12 or later. It has happened in the 2012 AL East, 2005 NL East and 2000 AL West.
We knew that the AL East was going to be a blood bath. Look at these projected standings by FanGraphs. The four leaders were all going to head into October with an 88-74 record.
Were are now heading into the All-Star weekend and you can't convince me that the AL East isn't the best division in all of baseball. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts was saying that it's the West, but truthfully it's only the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants. The AL East is THAT DIVISION my guy...
MLB Division by Record (7/11/22)
AL East: 241-190 (.559)
NL West: 224-204 (.523)
NL East: 222-209 (.515)
AL West: 207-222 (.483)
AL Central: 198-226 (.467)
NL Central: 196-237 (.453)
There obviously a lot of baseball left to be played a
Will the Yankees continue their streak of dominance and add pieces to help achieve their World Series goals? Will the Red Sox get back to full strength and cause headaches for anyone in path? Will the Rays be buyers or sellers? What will happen with the Blue Jays now that they just fired Manager Charlie Montoya? And of course, is this just a fluke for Baltimore or are they cooking something up?
FanGraphs has their projected full season, and I think they are a little conservative with some of the numbers.
What Baltimore is doing right now is great for the sport and great for their rebuild. Even with a massive whole to dig and still sitting in last place, they have gained respect across the league that it isn't easy coming in to Camden Yards anymore. I hope they can propel into the postseason, and who knows, they might play spoiler for a few teams.