54-40. That is the Baltimore Orioles’ record entering play on July 22nd. That mark is good enough to lead the American League wild card race. It also gives Baltimore the third highest winning percentage in the American League (.574). On top of that, the Orioles have the major league leader in home runs with Mark Trumbo, one of the game’s brightest young stars in third baseman Manny Machado, an under-the-radar starting pitcher with an impressive record of 14-2 by the name of Chris Tillman, as well as a closer who leads the AL with 30 saves in Zach Britton.
Yet, nobody seems to be giving Baltimore the attention that they deserve. Remember last season when we were enamored with the Blue Jays’ home run fueled offense? Those Blue Jays hit 232 home runs last season. This year, the Orioles are on pace to surpass that mark and hit 245 home runs. Have we lost interest in home runs in the past year? Certainly not. So why are the Orioles not getting the attention Toronto received last season?
Simply put, the Orioles seem to have been overshadowed by all of the other excitement around the league. The Cubs World Series streak along with the Giants “even year” World Series theatrics seem to dominate the majority of the postseason conversation. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have continued to remain the faces of baseball’s rising young stars. Chris Sale and Danny Salazar are by far the most talked about AL Cy Young contenders. Even in their own division, the Orioles (and everyone else really) have played second fiddle to the David Ortiz farewell tour.
I am by no means suggesting that the Orioles should be your new pick to win it all come October, but they should not be neglected as a potential contender. Don’t be surprised to see Baltimore mash their way into the postseason and put up a fight. Remaining under the radar may make them even more dangerous.