The Orioles Are Still Hanging Around for the Playoff Push

Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles have exceeded expectations this season. It’s no wonder why players and even their fnas are enjoying the second half of the season. A team like the Orioles, who many predicted to be the worst team in baseball, have continued to defy the odds. However, there’s not much time left with 14 games to go, and this team is still hanging around in the AL Wild Card race.

Orioles 2022 Season

The Important Stats

The Orioles’ recent accomplishments continue despite having the lowest total payroll in baseball, $43.7 million. Baltimore comes off as young and scrappy as they continue to find ways to win. Even though they have not been a contender in six years, they look to break that drought this October. What’s more impressive is their statistics to back up their success. The Orioles have won 49 of 50 while leading after six innings. In addition, they’re 51-2 while leading after seven and 56-2 while leading after eight. With those numbers, it shows they are committed to the games. They have 29 comeback victories this season.

Baltimore Comes Alive

The city of Baltimore has come alive. Fans are showing up at Camden Yards and are finally allowing themselves to believe that this team is playing great baseball. After a combined 33-19 record for July and August, the players have picked up the vibe and energy from the fans.

Thanks to the late success, Orioles fans now outnumber opposing fans in the stands. More Orioles team gear is visible in the city of Baltimore as well. Not bad for a team that drew only 794,000 fans last year; they are at 1.3 million with 11 home games remaining.

The Farm System Is More Productive

The organization has made its farm system more productive and even expanded its analytics department to find players others have disregarded. Baltimore’s farm system has ranked in the top ten for three years as those prospects are starting to produce.

The team’s continuous loss gave them premium draft picks. There’s catcher Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall pick in 2019, who is a contender for the AL Rookie of the Year Award. They also have infielder Gunnar Henderson, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, outfielder Colton Cowser, and pitcher D.L. Hall, ranked in the top 100 according to MLB.com.

Pitching Has Been A Priority

Pitching has been a key to how the Orioles put themselves in the playoff race. Their 3.79 ERA ranks 10th among the 30 major league teams. They have shaved more than two full runs off their 5.88 ERA mark last season, the worst in MLB.

The starting staff has pitched past 5 innings, something that did not happen very much in 2021 or even the first half of the 2022 season.

An Improved Bullpen

While none of their starters have been dominant—only Jordan Lyles is the only starter with double-digit wins—it has been the bullpen that has kept them in games. They have been outstanding even after the trade of closer Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline. Rookie Félix Bautista has stepped into the ninth-inning role and has nine saves since Lopez was dealt.

They have solid bullpen arms that can hold down late-inning leads. That bullpen has a 3.24 ERA, the sixth best in MLB, and the top ten in left-on-base percentage.

Manager Brandon Hyde

Baltimore has a patient and communicative manager in Brandon Hyde. Hyde has brought in veteran guys who have greatly influenced the younger and inexperienced players. He is a laid-back, easygoing, and positive manager who can get fired up, especially when he thinks his club is being disrespected. He takes over arguments from his players when they question the umpires.

The O’s Don’t Stop Believing

It’s easy to point out that the Oriole’s impressive bullpen and their top-ten defence are the primary reasons they’re in the playoff hunt. Nevertheless, there is also something even more important. Baseball coaches often say that good teams know how to win, but they have to believe they can win. That’s where the Orioles are right now. These guys believe they can win. They have enough confidence to go up against any team as they find ways to win.

No Expectations

There are no expectations for this team from here. If they fall short of the playoffs, everyone will say that they overachieved and are headed toward better things next year. However, the Orioles players, coaches—and now their fans—don’t see it that way. They feel they have a real chance to surprise the baseball world down the stretch and prove they have what it takes to earn a playoff spot. It’s a win-win.

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Players/managers mentioned:

Adley RutschmanGunnar Henderson, Grayson RodriguezColton Cowser, Jordan Lyles, Félix Bautista, Brandon Hyde