It wasn’t that long ago that the Baltimore Orioles were a sub-.500 team whose lack of strong pitching would do them in and rob them of a playoff berth.
The Baltimore team that has taken the field over the past week is doing a fine job of putting that conclusion nearly to rest. The Orioles have won seven games in a row and are just 1.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot and look like a whole new team.
Needless to say, late-season hot streaks can tend to be game changers. Any team that sleeps on Baltimore for the rest of the season could be in for a rude awakening.
Baltimore’s seven-game winning streak is amazing not only because of its length but because of who the O’s have defeated along the way. This hot stretch includes a three-game sweep of the first-place Boston Red Sox, and at Fenway Park to boot! More recently, Baltimore swept the Seattle Mariners at home at Camden Yards.
Baltimore has also outscored its opponents 52-24 over this seven-game stretch, and a lineup that can put together that much offense could be enough to compensate for a lack of elite pitching if the momentum holds just long enough.
And just who is at the heart of this offensive surge? Well, quite a few people actually. Star third baseman Manny Machado is hitting .322 during the streak and .336 in the month of August. Outfielder Adam Jones is batting .310 in his last seven games and has recorded at least one hit in each win during the streak.
The real rock star, however, could be infielder Tim Beckham. Baltimore acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline; and since donning an Orioles uniform, Beckham has hit an eye-popping .385 with six home runs and 18 RBI in just 28 games.
This team is running on all cylinders, so watch out.
But can the Orioles sustain such strong play over the rest of the season? The immediate future seems to suggest that they can.
Baltimore will be at home for the next seven games, starting with four against the last-place Toronto Blue Jays before the slumping New York Yankees come to town. It just so happens that, against New York this season, Baltimore is 4-2 at home compared to 1-5 on the road. The Yankees are set to play four games against the Red Sox starting today, so how well they perform in that series could indeed establish the momentum for when they head to the Charm City.
Either way, one thing is certain and that is the Orioles are a team to beat right now. Starter Dylan Bundy, who this time last year had a cloudy future as a starter, just tossed a one-hit shutout against Seattle and struck out 12 hitters. Kevin Gausman, who has been inconsistent his entire career, has posted a 3.58 ERA since July.
The offense, in the meantime, appears to be running on all cylinders thanks to Beckham and others.
The verdict is in, folks. Don’t sleep on the Baltimore Orioles unless you’re a fan of eating a lot of crow.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?