The Baltimore Orioles can now go into this postseason with a smile. After a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles captured their 100th win of the season. This is the first time since 1982 that the O’s have won 100-plus games. That was not the biggest news of the night, though.
Orioles Clinch 2023 AL East Divisional Title
The Orioles have clinched the AL East division for the tenth time in franchise history and the first time since 2014. Baltimore is officially the top seed in the American League playoff picture. This gives the O’s a bye during the American League Wild Card Series. The Orioles will start their 2023 postseason journey in the ALDS round. They’ll play the Tampa Bay Rays or the Texas Rangers at home in Camden Yards. This has been an unbelievable 2023 campaign for the O’s; we’ll look at how they succeeded.
The celebration is on in Baltimore.
The @Orioles have won the AL East!
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2023
Baltimore’s Journey Over the Past Two Seasons
Last season, the Orioles proved to the rest of the league that they were up-and-coming. Throughout specific points last year, the O’s were ten games under .500. From June 2022 till the end of the season, the Orioles fought hard every game while slowly moving up in the standings. They would finish the 2022 season with an 83-79 record, missing the playoffs by just three games. It was shocking to everyone this season when the Tampa Bay Rays had the best modern-day MLB start with a 14-0 record. Despite Tampa’s early success, the O’s stuck to their game plan. The Rays would slowly lose momentum within the division, allowing Baltimore to creep in. By late July, the Orioles would win three out of four games in Tampa Bay to overtake the AL East.
What’s crazy is no one expected this from the Baltimore Orioles. We knew they would take a giant leap this season, but smaller than being named the AL East champs. Before the season started, everybody had every other AL East rival taking that top spot. No one could have imagined the O’s at that top spot, whether it was the Rays, Blue Jays, Yankees, or even the Red Sox. The most significant success for the Baltimore Orioles this season has been sustaining themselves over their AL East rivals.
Orioles’ outfielder Austin Hays said it best: “I think that’s where the organization turned the corner, was being able to win the games in the AL East. I felt like we played perfect baseball last year, but still, it was hard to win those close games with the in-division teams.”
O’s Success Against AL East Foes
If Baltimore defeats Boston in the season’s final series, they would have successfully beaten all their AL East rivals. The O’s are 8-5 against Tampa Bay this year and 7-6 facing New York. That’s Baltimore’s first season series win against both clubs since 2016. They’re also 10-3 versus Toronto and 6-4 against Boston, the first season series win since 2017. Orioles’ general manager Mike Elias set the O’s standards down at the Winter Meetings last December. Elias stated that a return to the playoffs was a strong possibility. He also said winning the division with so much competition would be challenging for his squad. Well, the team just proved Elias wrong on Thursday night.
Anthony Santander, who’s been with Baltimore since 2017, phrased it perfectly. He said, “Every year, you come into Spring Training with the mentality to win. I think the organization did a great job putting this team together, and we did our jobs.”
Main Photo Credits: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports