It is a great thing that the Baltimore Orioles have a four-game lead over the Blue Jays at the All-Star break, along with a five-game margin over the Yankees. But if the Orioles are to win the American League East title, they are going to have to earn it by getting through a more difficult schedule than their counterparts.
Anyone else wonder how that can be? How could that be true after the first half with all of the difficult travel schedules and the greater number of games on the road? Relative to that last point, in fact, with all the games at Camden Yards in recent weeks, the Orioles have now played 49 games at home and 45 on the road.
It certainly did not seem to me that the Orioles were playing one pansy after another in the first half, but, it is commonly understood that the Birds have a very rough schedule immediately ahead…
Orioles’ second-half schedule: Brutal. Their first 26 games after the All-Star break are against teams with records of .500 or better.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 13, 2014
The Orioles will head out on a critical West Coast road trip to open up the final 68 games—three in Oakland, three with the Angels, and four in Seattle. And even after that, they come home to six more games against the same tough teams from the West—three each with the Angels and Mariners. At least they will quickly and soon be done with the MLB-leading Oakland A’s and their 59-36 record at the break … that is, until they beat them in October!
Seriously, this West Coast set of games could make or break this season for the Orioles. Typically, Baltimore has not done well on this trip. However, in 2013 the O’s had a great 7-4 record in the early season series of games. In 2012, they were 8-8, including seven games in California against the Angels. So, success in the West is possible, and the Orioles will need it.
While Baltimore will be playing nine of the next 13 against the teams with the two best records in baseball, the Yankees have seven of their next 13 games against the toothless Texas Rangers. However, the Yanks have to play seven games against the Tigers in the final stretch, whereas the Orioles are done with them (again, until beating them in the postseason).
Ultimately the Birds will have to personally deal with the other contenders—19 of the 68 games are against Toronto and New York.
- O’s against Yankees – Six games in Baltimore, with four in NY—the next-to-last series of the year.
- O’s against Jays – Six in Toronto, three in Baltimore—the final three games of the season.
- Jays vs. Yankees – Four in NY, six in Toronto.
It is really simple actually. All they have to do is win more games than anyone else. Now that’s baseball analysis! But a 5-5 West Coast road trip at the worst would be a decent start.