So far so good! After two weeks, the Baltimore Orioles are sitting in first place in the AL East with a record of 8-3, thanks to a potent offense and oddly enough some decent starting pitching, at least during the first week. So is this something that is sustainable? I think so, at least as far as their staying in first place.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Orioles, in my opinion, would grab a wild card spot. A lot of other writers had the O’s finishing in last, but I guess you need to pick someone to finish last in the AL East.
The thing is though, the AL East is a total crapshoot.
We all know the Orioles’ starting rotation isn’t necessarily the best, but the only other team with a decent rotation is the Tampa Bay Rays, however that might not really matter if you’ve ever watched them hit because, well, they can’t. The Rays have scored the least amount of runs in all of baseball so far this season so even though their rotation is decent, they just won’t score many runs to help out their pitchers.
The Boston Red Sox have David Price, but after him their rotation is equal if not slightly worse than the Orioles. Offensively, they are a step or two lower than the O’s, so not sure why people are on the Sox bandwagon. The Yankees, well, they have great names on their roster if their roster was from 5 years ago. Their rotation has been inconsistent at best this year, with four of their five starters boasting ERAs over 5 (two of them, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda have ERAs over 6) and the one pitcher who has been pitching well, Masahiro Tanaka, has an elbow which might fall apart at any time.
Sure, their bullpen with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller is one of the best in the game, it doesn’t matter much if you can’t get them in the game with a lead.
The Toronto Blue Jays are the main threat to the Orioles but once again, their rotation isn’t that much better than the O’s. They do have three starters with ERAs under 3 (Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada) but I see them regressing a bit as the season progresses. Their bullpen isn’t anywhere near what the Yankees or Orioles have, so you might be able to get to them late in games.
Offensively, they are monsters, equal to the Orioles. Josh Donaldson is a complete beast and Jose Bautista continues to amaze.
This week will be a tough one for the O’s as they have a three game set against the Blue Jays at home before heading out on the road to play the Kansas City Royals for three games, so the next six games will certainly be tough and will be an early test to see how these O’s fare against top competition.
By Andy Mindzak