|O’s need divisional foes to overtake Yankees||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on September 10, 2012
Granted, the team made the ALCS in 1997 as well, but that play sticks out as a moment that changed the franchise.
We’re now in 2012, and the Orioles had become the forgotten team in the competitive AL East for many years. As the Orioles kept getting worse, the Yankees -- the beneficiary of the Maier play -- kept getting stronger.
However, everything seems to be clicking at the right time for the O’s as they attempt to reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years. Buck Showalter has his team overachieving, but he might need a little help from his other division foes in trying to capture the AL East crown.
Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license.
After the recent four-game series between the Yanks and the O’s, the teams will not play each other again for the rest of the season. The Yankees lead the division by one game.
The Orioles have six games with the Rays, three with Athletics, three with the Mariners, six with the Red Sox, four with the Blue Jays.
The Yankees meanwhile have six games against the Red Sox, three with the Rays, seven with the Blue Jays, three with the Athletics and three with the Twins.
This is a pretty similar grouping for the two AL East leaders down the stretch, so it will come down who can sustain the consistent attack. The Rays are right in the thick of things as well in the wild card race, so don’t expect them merely to fold.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will be looking to play spoiler for their division foes. Naturally, the Orioles hope the Sox and Jays beat up on the Yankees, while the Bronx Bombers are hoping for those two teams to take down the Orioles.
The quest for October would have been much more exciting if the Orioles and Yankees still had maybe six head-to-head games remaining. You’ll notice though the Yankees and Red Sox still have six games against each other. Maybe the schedule makers expected these two teams to be the ones leading the division this late in the season, but the Red Sox have fallen off the map and have been replaced by the Orioles.
The Orioles’ rise shows that a team with a moderate payroll can still win games. It also shows from the flip side that money doesn’t necessarily buy success. This will certainly be one of the many post-season races to follow in the coming weeks.