3 reasons the Orioles will shock the world with playoff run
The Baltimore Orioles have been one of the biggest surprises in the MLB during the 2022 season. They have hung around at the backend of the American League wild card race for most of the season, and after their 10-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays last night, they have a half-game lead over the Rays for the final wild card spot in the AL.
Nobody expected this from Baltimore heading into the season, and many believed they were waving the white flag at the 2022 MLB trade deadline when they dealt off some of their top players. Instead, they have gone 7-2 since the deadline, proving that they are indeed a very real playoff contender down the stretch of the season.
Despite that, Baltimore still has a lot of work to do if they want to earn themselves a playoff spot this season. They play in the most competitive division in the MLB in the AL East, and there are still seven teams squarely in the race for the three wild card spots in the American League. The odds may be stacked against them, but here are three reasons the Orioles can earn a playoff spot this season.
3 reasons the Baltimore Orioles can make a playoff run
3. They have an underdog mentality
This may not be as important as the other reasons, but a team’s overall mindset can play a big role in winning not just in the MLB, but in all sports around the world. In order to win, you have to believe you can win first. Right now, the Orioles have enough confidence to go toe-to-toe with any team in the majors, and in some cases they are prevailing.
The underdog mentality can play a big role in baseball, where results are sometimes fickle. One hot stretch can spark a playoff run, and right now the Orioles are in the midst of one of those runs. Baltimore has spent the entire season believing they can win; only now is the rest of the league beginning to take them seriously.
The Orioles clearly do not have the best roster in the MLB, but in some cases that is irrelevant. They know they are underdogs, and that chip on their shoulder has helped them win as much as they have early on in this season. If they can keep the same mindset throughout the rest of this season, Baltimore has what it takes to earn a playoff spot.
2. Their pitching staff is underrated
At a quick glance, Baltimore’s pitching staff is a bit confusing. There are some ugly numbers, specifically in the starting rotation, that would seemingly derail them. But under the surface, there is a solid pitching core that has guided them to where they find themselves now.
Despite trading away their closer Jorge Lopez, the bullpen still has some dominant arms. Felix Bautista and Cionel Perez both have ERAs below two, and Dillon Tate, Keegan Akin, and Joey Krehbial all have ERAs below three. Right out of the gate, that’s five solid bullpen arms who can hold down late-inning leads for the O’s.
The starting rotation is a bit messier, with Jordan Lyles and Tyler Wells being the only two guys to have started 20 plus games this season. Wells is probably the ace of the rotation at this point, but they have also gotten solid contributions from Spenser Watkins and Dean Kramer this season too. All in all, the Orioles have enough arms to piece together wins, and they should continue to help Baltimore win games as more guys get healthy.
1. Their lineup is very deep
What’s been truly carrying Baltimore is their lineup. There aren’t really any star players, but it’s incredibly deep, and sometimes that’s all it takes to win games. The Orioles don’t really have a true weak spot in their lineup right now, and it’s making it tough for opposing pitchers to consistently get guys out.
Even after trading away one of their best hitters in Trey Mancini, the Orioles have continued to mash as of late. Everyone aside from their rotating cast at designated hitter and catcher Adley Rutschman, who was called up midway through the season, has double-digit home runs. Everyone in their lineup is hitting somewhere between .203 and .266 as well.
There’s nobody that really stands out in this lineup; it’s the consistency and depth from top to bottom that stands out instead. Whereas many teams rely on their stars for most of their production, the Orioles are getting it from everyone. There are some players struggling in certain aspects, but it has balanced out to this point. With the lineup leading the way, Baltimore has a real shot to shock the world down the stretch of the 2022 season.