It’s been nearly 17 years, but the Baltimore Orioles are once again the AL East Champions after they beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night. It’s the O’s first divisional crown since 1997, and it comes with their 9th win in the last 10 games. Here’s a look at how they did it Tuesday, as well as what this recent hot-streak could mean for the O’s in the remaining weeks leading up to the playoffs.
The game against the Blue Jays wasn’t even close. After Toronto scored in the top of the first, the O’s came immediately back and scored three in the bottom half of the inning when Steve Pearce knocked a three-run shot to center with both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz on base.
The O’s wouldn’t look back after that, but for good measure they’d score again in the bottom of the second on another home run. This time it was from Jimmy Parades, as he hit just his second home run of the season.
We’d go scoreless until the 7th, when Parades, Markakis and Ryan Flaherty all scored on an Alejandro De Aza triple. In the 8th, Nate Hundley would poor it on with a sacrifice fly that allowed JJ Hardy to score.
The Orioles dominating win on Tuesday is just their most recent in a string of excellent efforts. Their only loss in the last ten games came against the Yankees in a 3-2 nail biter. During the stretch, the O’s have a +30 scoring margin, outscoring their opponents, 51-21.
Throughout the season, the Orioles have been getting things done on both offense and defense. At the plate, they rank 7th in runs (655), 8th in batting average (.258), and 3rd in slugging percentage (.422). They are led by Nelson Cruz, who has 39 homeruns and 103 RBIs, and Adam Jones, who leads the team with a .286 RBI.
Their pitching staff has the 7th best ERA (3.48), and 10th best batting against average (,245). Wei-Yin Chen leads the team with 16 wins, and Chris Tillman has a team-high 139 strikeouts and team-low 1.22 WHIP.
With just a few weeks left in the MLB season, the O’s join the Nationals and Angles as the only teams that have been able to clinch a playoff spot. You can check back with sportspicks.com for insider info on who will join these teams as the winners of the NL West, NL Central, and AL Central. We should have a much better picture of the playoff race here in the coming days.
It’s not surprising to see the AL East send multiple teams to the playoffs. But this year, it’ll be just the Orioles all by their lonesome. As for whether or not they can win the World Series, they currently sit at 6/1 odds to do so. The only teams ahead of them are the Nationals, Dodgers and Angles, all of which are at 9/2.