Somehow, some way, the Orioles (64-53) keep racking up wins. After consecutive victories over the Red Sox, the O's have a chance to sweep Boston today and send them five games under .500. The O's have also won nine of their last 11 games.
It's been noted that the O's have a difficult schedule in their remaining 44 games after today. Here's how those games break down:
3 at Detroit
3 at Texas
3 vs. Toronto
4 vs. Chicago
3 at New York
3 at Toronto
4 vs. New York
3 vs. Tampa Bay
3 at Oakland
3 at Seattle
3 at Boston
3 vs. Toronto
3 vs. Boston
3 at Tampa Bay
Yikes. First of all, it's crazy that we're even talking about this. Again, somehow the O's are 11 games over .500 and are leading the wild card. No matter what happens the rest of the season, this is actually happening right now. For a team with very little hope heading into April, the run this team has been on is almost incomprehensible. But, you know, luck, run differential, and regression, etc., so let's try to stay grounded -- though it won't be easy.
Making the playoffs isn't easy, especially for an O's team that's already fighting an uphill battle in the AL East. The Red Sox and Blue Jays have had bad luck with injuries all season, but as O's fans are more than well aware of, that's part of the game. The O's have battled their share of injuries this year and have had some pretty terrible luck with them in past seasons. So it's important to remember this: No one feels sorry for you. After 15 years of futility, the O's have needed and will continue to need some good fortune for them to have a chance of actually sneaking into the playoffs.
Of their 44 remaining games, 28 are against the AL East. Plus, teams like Detroit, Texas, and Oakland are all pretty good, too. And while it's bad enough to play all of those games against good teams, the O's also have one trip to the West Coast left, which includes three games in Oakland and three in Seattle. Luckily, on that trip the O's avoid the Angels, who have a 7-2 record against the O's this season.
That remaining schedule could wear down even the best of teams, but over the course of this season, the O's have held their own against decent teams, primarily in the East. In fact, other than their struggles vs. the Angels, the only other teams they're under .500 against are the Rangers (1-3), Tigers (1-2), and Yankees (5-6) -- and there's nothing wrong with that. Overall, they're 18-13 vs. the Central division, 11-14 vs. the West, and they finished 11-7 in interleague play. But the biggest surprise is their 24-19 record in the East, fueled by an 8-3 record against the Red Sox. Sorry, Beantown.
Considering that schedule and that the O's have been playing over their heads, I'm not sure they're going to be able to ride out that storm and eventually still be in contention heading into the final days of the regular season. But this team has accomplished way more than I ever thought they would, and I certainly won't write them off. This whole winning thing has been fun, and I hope like hell it continues.