It was a tough scoreboard watching week for the Orioles fans. The O's didn't gain on anyone, another team got in front of them in the wild card race, and they are now just one loss combined with a Yankees win away from fourth place in the division. But it's not over yet!
Baltimore Orioles (68-58)
3rd place, A.L. East, 5 1/2 games behind Boston Red Sox
4th place, A.L. Wild Card, 3 games behind the Oakland A's
The Orioles started off last weekend well, winning two out of three from the Colorado Rockies. But they went just 1-2 in the important series against the Rays, which means they're not a game further behind them in the division and the wild card.
This week the Orioles have a chance to redeem themsevles in the crucial series department as they face off against the Oakland Athletics. If the Orioles manage to sweep the A's they'll be tied with them in the wild card race, but a sweep by the A's and they'll be six games behind them and effectively out of the race. No pressure.
The O's follow that series with a three-game series in Boston against the Red Sox. That's also important, but how so will depend on the A's series.
Boston Red Sox (75-54)
1st place, A.L. East, 1 game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays
The Red Sox spent the last week just as the Orioles did: they went .500, with a 3-3 record. Things started off well as they dropped two of three to the Yankees, but then they went out west and won two games in San Francisco. The Red Sox have a tough weekend series ahead of them against the Dodgers. The Dodgers don't really lose, so hopefully they'll take care of business against our enemeis. After that the Red Sox fly home for three games against our Orioles.
Tampa Bay Rays (72-53)
2nd place, A.L. East, 1 game behind the Red Sox
1st place, A.L. Wild Card, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland A's
The Rays are one game behind of the Red Sox in the standings but actually have one less loss. They've played four fewer games than the Red Sox on the season, so despite being a game back they are really not in a bad position.
Unlike the Red Sox and the Orioles, the Rays actually gained in the standings this week. They went 2-1 against both the Toronto Blue Jays and the O's to bring them a game closer to first place. Starting tonight they have three games at home against the Yankees, a makeup game in Kansas City on Monday, and three games at home against the Angels. I'm going to just assume they are going to sweep the Angels. As for the Yankees series, it's tough to know who to root for in that instance. Maybe if they go 1-2 against the Yankees while the O's sweep the A's, that'd be the best scenario.
New York Yankees (68-59)
4th place, A.L. East, 6 games behind the Red Sox
5th place, A.L. Wild Card, 3 1/2 games behing A's, 1/2 game behind O's
The Yankees had a very good week. I mean, it was good if you're a Yankee or a Yankees fan. For everyone else it was terrible. First they took two out of three from the Red Sox, which I was ok with at the time, but then they went on to win all four games against the Blue Jays. Their 6-1 week helped them gain in both races and they are now just 1/2 game behind the Orioles.
It's been mentioned a few places this week, but if you haven't seen it I'd like to point out that the the Yankees have dominated the Blue Jays this year. In fact, the Blue Jays are single handedly responsible for allowing the Yankees to remain relevent. The Yankees are 12-1 against the Blue Jays. Against the rest of baseball they are 56-59. The Jays have a 1-12 record against the Yankees. Against the rest of baseball they are 56-59.
Oakland Athletics (71-55)
2nd place, A.L. West, 2 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers
2nd place, A.L. Wild Card, 1 1/2 games behind the Rays, 3 games ahead of the O's
The A's were another team who went .500 this week. They went 2-1 against the Indians and were poised to gain ground in the standings, but then lost a series to the Mariners. We know how that feels.
After the big weekend series again the Orioles, the A's have a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers are obviously going to win the A.L. Central so we don't need to worry about them, so here's hoping the A's get swept.
Cleveland Indians (69-58)
2nd place, A.L. Central, 5 games behind the Tigers
3rd place, A.L. Wild Card, 2 1/2 games behind the A's, 1/2 game ahead of the O's
Seriously, Indians? You're trying to contend? So inconvenient. The Indians went 1-2 against the A's last weekend, but gained in the wild card race thanks to a three-game sweep of the completely useless Angels. They have another cake walk this weekend with three home games against the Twins, but then thankfully travel to Atlanta where they will hopefully be demolished by the first-place Braves.
That reminds me, I'm very glad that the Orioles are finished with interleague play.
TL;DR - Who should I root for this weekend?
In addition to the Orioles, you should definitely root for the Dodgers and Twins. As for the Rays/Yankees series, well, that's a personal decision.