2012 Baltimore Orioles: How Far Can They Go This Season?
Getty Images I think we all as baseball fans agree when I say that the Baltimore Orioles have ...
The Orioles entered Sunday night’s contest against the New York Yankees one game back of first place in the American League East. The Orioles this week were at the top of the division in September for the first since 1997.
Unfortunately, the O’s have been doubted by most observers all season. Now, they are finally proving that they are for real.
This season, the Orioles have chosen to follow team’s manager Buck Showalter’s often expressed sentiment, “Taking one day at a time.” In my opinion, this is the right way to approach the game. The result has been that the Orioles are a breakout team that do not appear likely to choke.
How far will the Orioles go this season? Well, the Orioles are currently in second place in the AL East behind the first place Yankees. Here is the current A.L. EAST division standings:
1. New York Yankees 78-60
2. Baltimore Orioles 77-61
3. Tampa Bay Rays 76-62
4. Boston Red Sox 63-76
5. Toronto Blue Jays 62-75
It is safe to say that the Orioles can taste a division title. The Orioles are playing at home with their heads held high. They have an opportunity to overtake the Yankees during the current pivotal four-game series at Camden Yards, and end the weekend in sole possession of first place in the division.
If Baltimore though does not capture the division title, they still have a great chance to make the playoffs as one of the AL Wild Card winners. Here are the current AL Wild Card standings:
AL WILD CARD
1. Oakland Athletics 77-60
Baltimore Orioles 77-61
2. Tampa Bay Rays 76-62
3. Los Angeles Angels 75-63
4. Detroit Tigers 73-64
With that being said, I feel it is safe to say that the Orioles have a great opportunity to make the playoffs this season. However, if they do make the playoffs through a Wild Card spot, I think they would be more likely to go home early…as compared to winning the division.
If they make it in by a wild card, I see the Orioles losing the sudden death one game playoff to 3 out of the top 4 teams in the wild card, including Angels, Rays, and Tigers. I feel that the Orioles have their best chance against Oakland, simply because Oakland’s roster in my opinion doesn’t have as much depth as the other teams fighting for a wild card.
Very soon though we will find out who the Orioles will play in the playoffs. All I can say is don’t count them out!
I feel that Showalter has taken a tremendous approach to this magical season Baltimore has put together. Easily a candidate for AL manager of the year if you ask me. He will be the manager for some years to come, that’s for sure!
He has handled a great pitching staff. While they don’t all have dominant stats, the pitchers as a whole get the job done at the end of the day. That’s all that really matters. Showalter has also put together a balanced lineup which also doesn’t always have the most impressive individual stats, but collectively gets the job done.
With the system the Orioles have put into place, they can go far in the future- as long as not only their prospects develop, but GM Dan Duquette considers to add the right complimentary pieces to the equation.
Many outsiders have sought to discredit the Orioles’ magical run by pointing to the club’s run differential, which is -20, making Baltimore the only team in baseball playing at least .500 ball despite surrendering more runs than its scored.
But over the Orioles’ past 30 games, in which the club is 21-9, Baltimore has outscored its opponents 147-107. The Orioles will have their work cut out for them down the stretch, as the club still has series against the Yankees, Rays and A’s — three teams that are also making a bid for the postseason.
Make sure to remain on your toes as we wind down to the postseason. I am excited not only to see how far Baltimore goes but other teams as well. It will be an intense playoffs this year, probably one of the best ones in history with the additional wild card spots.
You can bank on that!
This article was originally published at MLB Reports.
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