The Baltimore Orioles are only five and a half games out of a Wild Card spot, but there are six teams ahead of them, and that makes a playoff run unlikely.
Being the tenth-best team in the American League should dictate that the Baltimore Orioles should be sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline.
Why is that the case?
Well, there are six teams ahead of them for the last playoff spot. Kansas City, who is playing well and who the Baltimore Orioles face after their series in Texas, is the second wild card right now.
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Tampa Bay, who just won a series against the Orioles, is next after the Royals. Then comes a Seattle team that can make a lot of noise if their pitching is healthy.
The Minnesota Twins follow a team that overachieved in the first-half with their pitching. Then comes Texas and Los Angeles, two AL West teams trying to find who they are. The Rangers have struggled offensively for much of the year and may be trading their best pitcher.
The Angels now have a healthy Mike Trout, and could make a run of things if their starting pitching can get it together.
Then comes the Orioles, only half a game ahead of the Blue Jays.
The bottom three teams are the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland Athletics, and the Chicago White Sox.
The bottom two aren’t a surprise. The White Sox have arguably the best farm system in the majors and are stocked for the future, but have to deal with the roster overhaul that has occurred over the last year.
The Athletics were expected to be bad this year, and they have complied. Now, they are considering trading Sonny Gray as well.
The Tigers, and especially their pitching, have been a massive disappointment.
All three of those teams either already are sellers, or are reported to be sellers, marketing some of their biggest names.
The Blue Jays and Orioles both sit in no man’s land. Both would like to make a run for the playoffs, with scores of their teams that are not going to be together too much longer.
However, the pitching for both has been significant disappointments. For the Jays, it has been injuries and some ineffectiveness.
For the Orioles, it has all been ineffectiveness.
The Orioles’ offense has been better lately, but it still is inconsistent. The team likely won’t face a top starter in the Rangers series, so that might help them get it going.
Is there a path for the Orioles to contend? It will require putting solid offense and good pitching from the rotation and bullpen together to win games.
Let’s look at the foes the Orioles face to end July and through Aug.:
July 28-30: Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers
One of the teams the Orioles are competing with, the Orioles swept Texas not long ago. Another sweep will likely get Yu Darvish traded and push the Rangers toward playing out the rest of the season.
A sweep of the Orioles would push them very close to considering prominent moves before the trade deadline.
July 31-Aug. 2: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles
A big chance to gain some ground on another team in front of them comes when the Orioles play host to the leader for the second wild card slot.
Aug. 3-6: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles typically do well against Verlander, not so much against Fulmer. The Tigers, who trail behind the Orioles in the AL standings, the Orioles will need to win this series to remain competitive.
Aug. 7-9 Baltimore Orioles at Los Angeles Angels | Anaheim & Aug. 18-20: Angels at Orioles
Two series within 15 days against the subpar pitching of the Angels could help the Orioles, but that means they get good pitching. Certainly not a guarantee.
Aug. 11-14: Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics | Aug. 21-23: Athletics at Orioles
The Orioles typically are awful in Oakland, and if they want to contend, the West Coast trip is going to have to be a successful one.
Considering the level of competition they face ahead, even a record 5-5 won’t be good enough. The Orioles must win at least win six games to stay in the playoff picture.
Aug. 14-16: Baltimore Orioles at Seattle Mariners | Aug. 28-30 Mariners at Orioles
The Orioles finish that West Coast trip in Seattle, another team that is in front of them. By this point, the Orioles will likely have a strong idea if they can catch a playoff spot or not.
Aug. 25-27: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox currently lead the AL East, but it isn’t exactly the strongest of leads. They lead the Yankees by half a game, and their pitching is struggling, and now David Price is on the disabled list. Could another collapse be coming?
The Orioles play some teams coming up that either is battling with them or are worse than them. They don’t play the Astros or Indians, the leaders of the American League, anymore.
It is time for the Orioles to post up if they want to make the playoffs.
If not, by the time the above month is finished, the only thing to look forward to is minor leaguers getting called up in September.