The Baltimore Orioles hold the second best record in all of baseball. Now in the final month of the season, the O’s sights are set on something more than just a playoff appearance. Here are 3 major reasons why the Orioles will win the AL pennant:
The Orioles’ lineup is one of, if not the, best in all of baseball. Even with two of their major stars out for the season, the Orioles have continued to get hits and score runs on a regular basis. The Orioles are one of two teams in the entire league with three players with more than 20 home runs in their lineup (the Milwaukee Brewers are the other). Likewise, the Orioles have the highest percentage of runs scored via home run in the entire MLB. The O’s always seem to get a key hit, and usually a home run, in timely situations and that has continued through the whole season. If that same trend can continue to happen throughout the postseason, the O’s will be in good shape.
The Orioles’ bullpen is about as shutdown as one can be. While the starting rotation has came on strong as of late, postseason baseball relies heavily on the bullpen. Orioles’ starters will be able to keep them in the game, but the bullpen is who brings it home. After five or six innings from the starters (or hopefully more if they are pitching well), the bullpen can come in and shut the door on the opposition. Also, while the Orioles’ bullpen is as good as it gets, the Orioles have taken advantage of other teams’ bullpens this season, tying and winning many games in the late innings off of relievers. If Baltimore faces a team in the playoffs with an ace starter, as long as they can keep themselves in the game, they can let their bullpen win it for them, while getting hits off of the opposition’s relievers.
As the playoff picture sits now, the Orioles are the number two seed in the AL, and would face the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. While the Royals have been scorching hot, the Orioles continue to win almost every series they play, taking two out of three, or three out of four from teams. The Orioles and Royals met at the end of April and in May and the O’s have a 3-4 record against Kansas City on the year. It’s hard to argue against the Royals play as of late, but it’s also hard to say that the O’s themselves have not gotten significantly better since the two teams played. From there, the Orioles would face the winner of an Angels vs. A’s/Tigers/Mariners series. The O’s have taken four out of six against Anaheim this year, who are going to be without their best pitcher for the entire postseason. While the Angels are most likely to be the team advancing, the Orioles also hold a 2-4 record against Oakland, and a 5-2 record against Seattle.
All in all, the Orioles will be facing teams they are very familiar with and if they can continue to keep hitting the ball the way they have, particularly off of opposing bullpens, and can shutdown their opponents via the bullpen, they will be in tremendous shape.