With less than one week of games remaining in the dog days of August, the Baltimore Orioles are in the middle of two of baseball’s closest races, the battle for the American League East and the AL Wild Card.
Here is a breakdown of the current races:
1. AL Wild Card
Following a series victory against the Oakland Athletics, the Orioles are two games behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot. The Cleveland Indians are a 1.5, the New York Yankees are 3.5 games behind, and the Tampa Bay Rays have a 2.5 game lead for the top Wild Card spot.
2. AL East
The Orioles trail the Boston Red Sox by five games in the division (Boston is playing Los Angeles in L.A. tonight). The Rays are second in the East trailing the Red Sox by half a game. And the Orioles and Yankees are separated by 1.5 games.
There are 33 games remaining in the Orioles regular season. All but seven of those games will come against divisional opponents. In the seven games outside the AL East, the O’s will play the Cleveland Indians (Sept. 2 – 4) and the Chicago White Sox (Sept. 5 – 8).
In 23 of their remaining games the Orioles will be playing teams with a winning record, making their final month one of the toughest in all of baseball — the Red Sox play just eight more times against sub-.500 teams, the Yankees have 15 games and the Rays have 16 games.
On Tuesday the Birds begin perhaps the most important road trip of the season. It will be nine games against opponents either leading or chasing them in one of the two playoff races.
Beginning on Tuesday the Orioles will have a chance to cut into the Red Sox division lead as they travel to Boston for a three-game series at Fenway Park. The O’s are 6-4 against the Red Sox this year and 2-1 in Boston.
The month of August will come to a close with a three-game series against the Yankees, where the Orioles have split two three-game series at Yankee Stadium this year, but have a 7-5 season record vs. New York.
The Orioles wrap up their road swing in Cleveland with a three-game series against the Indians.
If Buck Showalter and the rest of the Orioles were waiting for an opportune time to go on a winning streak, now would be that time.
The O’s will play the Red Sox another nine times before the season concludes on Sept. 29, the Yankees another seven times and the Rays another four times.
BUCKle up O’s fans, nail-biting times are about to begin.