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Orioles Division Dominance Is Propelling Them to Success

The Baltimore Orioles have recently become a fixture atop the American League East. Their knack for winning division games is the main reason why. During the first series of the 2023 season, the Boston Red Sox took two of three games from their division foes. Although that may seem irrelevant today, that series was the last time the Orioles lost a series to a divisional opponent. Since then, the Orioles have played 21 series against division opponents without losing. That is a franchise-record streak for the Orioles.

After completing a four game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, the Orioles are so far an astounding 16-6 against the AL East this season. This impressive record has helped Baltimore keep pace with the almighty New York Yankees. Overall, continuously winning division games helped the Orioles capture their first AL East title in nine years during the 2023 season. If the Orioles can keep up this trend, they may earn back-to-back division titles.

The Orioles Have Owned the Division Recently

Since 2023, the Orioles have a winning record against all their division opponents. The Oriole’s best record comes against the Rays, which is an astounding 14-6 since the start of last season. Considering the Orioles were 29-57 against the Rays during the four seasons prior, it has been  a big turnaround. Also, the Orioles have a winning percentage north of .600 against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. A big part of that has been Ryan Mountcastle, who has hit .290 against the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays in 2023 and this season. Finally, the Orioles have a 10-7 record against the Yankees since the start of the 2023 season. This is their worst record against any opponent, but given the Yankees’ all-time dominance against the Orioles, it’s a nice change of pace.

Why Beating Divisional Teams Is So Important

Keeping up these high win percentages against division teams is crucial for Oriole’s success. Baltimore’s battle with New York for the top spot in the AL East. So, every division win matters a little more. In past years, if two teams tied for the top spot in the division, there would be a one-game playoff. That was considered game 163, and it would decide who wins the division. However, MLB recently switched it so whoever won the head-to-head battle during the regular season will win the division. For the Orioles, winning games against the Yankees is now even more important, so they have the edge in a tie.

But if the Orioles and Yankees were to tie in their head-to-head matchups, the next decider for who wins the division is the team with the best overall record in intradivision games. Winning as many games as possible against division rivals could end up deciding the division. So, that is what makes the Oriole’s streak of division series wins/ties so impressive. There is a lot on the line during every game, yet the Orioles keep coming out on top. This ability to win so much in the AL East could give Baltimore the ultimate advantage come September.

The Remaining Divisional Series for the Orioles

The Orioles still have nine more divisional series to play this season. A lot is yet to be determined. But the Oriole’s final divisional test will come against the Yankees in the final week of the season. They will go to New York, potentially with the division on the line, with just 6 games left in the season. That series could end up determining who wins the division title. If Baltimore continue their streak, they could head into that series with a chance to make it 30 straight series without a loss against a divisional opponent. The importance of winning division games can not be understated. It gives a team the edge in tiebreakers and a big boost in the division standings. What the Orioles have done is impressive, and if they keep it up, another AL East title may be in their sights.

Main Photo: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


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