Baltimore Orioles: Hellickson excels in debut, AL Wild Card standings

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 02: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson /

The Baltimore Orioles received an enormous lift from the newly acquired Jeremy Hellickson, who tossed seven innings of shutout baseball as the Orioles sweep the Kansas City Royals.

The Baltimore Orioles, a team labeled by several reputable sports publications and experts as MLB trade deadline losers just days ago, received a huge boost from starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson in their 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Hellickson, 30, threw a season-high seven innings of shutout baseball, along with three strikeouts and a walk in his debut with the Orioles. Previously with the Philadelphia Phillies, Hellickson last pitched on July 22 when he allowed six earned runs through five innings of work.

Tim Beckham kick-started the Orioles offense in the bottom of the second by doubling to deep right, sending in rookie Trey Mancini for the Orioles first run of the game. However, the 27-year-old Beckham wasn’t done there as he hit his fourth triple of the season to stretch the Orioles lead to 6-0.

While the two striking acquisitions for the Orioles shined, you can’t forget about Caleb Joseph‘s two-run blast in the second inning as he continues his captivating comeback season.

With the victory, the Orioles complete the sweep of the Royals who came into Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the hottest team in the American League. It’s safe to say that the roles have reversed following the Orioles dominating sweep of the Royals.

The Orioles ride a five-game winning streak into their four-game series against Detriot Tigers, a team that just wrapped up two impressive series win against the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

Orioles sudden rise in the AL Wild Card standings

This time last week, MLB experts and Orioles fans laughed at the thought of the Orioles strategy to buy at the 2017 MLB trade deadline. For example, ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield assigned the Orioles as losers not once, but twice in his Trade deadline winners and losers piece on Aug. 1.

To be exact, Schoenfield stated:

"Yes, I’m going to double-dip here. Not only did they not trade Britton, but they also traded for Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham. What is the plan here? This is not a good team, and those two guys aren’t going to push the Orioles any closer to the playoffs. This is what can happen when ownership interferes with baseball operations."

Well, two days after Schoenfield’s criticism of the Orioles trade deadline moves and season, the Orioles are suddenly 2.5 games back from the final AL Wild Card spot.

However, the analytical world of baseball keep the Orioles playoff chances exceptionally low, despite their latest surge. Entering Thursday’s play, FanGraphs Projections Mode gives the Orioles a mere 7.4 percent chance of a playoff berth in 2017.

Next: 5 Best Orioles Trades of All Time

Nonetheless, the Baltimore Orioles, are still one game below .500, but a win Thursday night against the Tigers and the Orioles will reach the .500 mark for the first time since June 29 when they were 39-39 and 4.5 games in the AL East standings.