The Orioles were one of MLB’s model franchises for decades, but teams of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s have given way to clubs that have been unable to reach the .500 mark for the last 14 years. While no organization rivals the Pirates’ streak of losing seasons, the Orioles haven’t had a winning record or made the playoffs since 1997.
Everything could change this year if the Orioles continue to play well for the next two months. They're currently 60-51, tied with the Tigers and Athletics for the lead in the American League Wild Card race, and 1.5 games ahead of the Rays and Angels. With five teams playing for two spots, competition for the Wild Card spots will no doubt be heated.
The Orioles have allowed 47 more runs than they've scored, which suggests their .541 winning percentage is unsustainable. But their 60 wins aren’t going to disappear, so they’re very much in contention. Manny Machado is joining the team, and Dylan Bundy might be next. As Dave Cameron explained this morning, there’s a definite chance Baltimore could win enough to reach the postseason. Even if it’s not necessarily likely, the playoffs are within reach.
For the Orioles to end up below .500, they’d have to finish 20-31 or worse. To win 90 games, they’d have to finish 30-21 or better. There are still 51 games to go…