As we turn the calendar over to September, we’re officially past the “dog days” of summer. Now is the time where EVERY game is important.
And I mean every game — a blown save or one bad inning could be the difference between whether you are playing baseball in October…or you are playing Golf in October.
Some of the division races are still within reach for at least the second place team. In fact, no division lead is more than six games, with the Washington Nationals using a flawless August to stave off the Atlanta Braves.
Actually, there is one division that is out of reach at this point, in my opinion.
The American League East is held in a strangle hold by the Baltimore Orioles, who used a 19-9 month of August to take a nine-game lead over the New York Yankees and a ten and a half game lead over the third place Toronto Blue Jays.
Yes, the third place Jays. Those same Jays that held first place once upon a time in early June.
Now, the Orioles use power and pitching to take over a division that they led by only a game and a half on July 31st.
They know how to hit homers –and fresh off of taking the first three of a four-game set against the Minnesota Twins where they hit six of them, from usual suspects Chris Davis, Nelson Cruz and a grand slam from J.J. Hardy in a seven-run sixth inning during Sunday’s game and from unusual guys Jimmy Paredes, Delmon Young and Ryan Flaherty, they seem to be rolling at the right time.
The O’s haven’t missed a beat since losing Manny Machado to a season ending knee surgery, as Davis has filled in at third base and Paredes has batted .455 (5-11) and filled in at third since coming over and filling in while Steve Pearce has been day-to-day with an abdominal strain and has forced Davis to go back to first base.
What can’t they do? We will find out if their rotation can hold up behind ace Wei-Yin Chen during a long postseason run but their 3.58 team ERA shows they can pitch well enough for their potent offense (1st in Home Runs).
Are they built for the postseason? We have seen great pitching beat a great offense before.
That’s a story for another day though, the number one goal coming into the season is to win your division. Looks like the O’s are in great position to do just that.
– Khristian Peel