Orioles Threatening to Run Away with AL East
The Baltimore Orioles are threatening to run away with the American League East. The Orioles have won 2 straight and 7 of their past 10. Baltimore holds a 5-game lead over the New York Yankees and 6 games over the Toronto Blue Jays.
For many the AL East has been looked at as the AL Least. One of mediocrity that none of the five teams wanted to win.
However, that has all changed. Following a 12-2 rout on Friday of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Orioles are 17 games over .500 and threatening to break the AL East wide open.
At this time, Baltimore has the largest lead of any divisional leader in the majors.
The success of Baltimore is not only a product of dominating its division foes, only the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels have better overall records than do the Orioles.
The Orioles overall record understates how well they have played the past two months. Baltimore struggled to start the season, and was just 26-27 on May 30.
Consistency is the word for Baltimore. The Orioles have not lost over two games straight since the May 31.
It was fitting that Chris Tillman was on the mound for a statement win over St. Louis on Friday.
His season thus far has followed the same path as of the rest of the Orioles. He did not pitch will over April and May.
At the end of May, his ERA was 5.30 after 13 starts.
Starting in June things began to change. He now has an ERA of 3.73 on the season and over his last 12 starts, it is just 2.40.
Over those same 12 starts, Tillman has not allowed over three earned runs in any one game. During the same stretch, he has held batters to an average of .220, while giving up just 5 home runs in the past 78 2/3 innings.
The Orioles offense has not played all that bad of late either. J.J. Hardy had two home runs and 4 runs batted in on Friday and Manny Machado added a three-run home run.
Three other Orioles – Adam Jones, Ryan Flaherty and Chris Davis all hit home runs on Friday to stake the Orioles to a 12-0 cushion.
A title in the AL East for Baltimore is looking more and more likely as they start to put distance between themselves and the Yankees and Blue Jays. It would be their first AL East title in over 15 years.
This is just the eighth time since 1969 that Baltimore is leading during August or later by 5 games or more. In each of those previous seven seasons, the Orioles went on to win the division title.
With the A’s and Angels battling out West, and the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers trying to hold off the surging Kansas City Royals, Baltimore has quietly separated themselves from the pack in the AL East to make a late season push for the division title and the playoffs.