The Orioles have made it through their August schedule, with 82% of the season having been played, and they are holding a lead of 1.5 games in the AL East. They’ve been at least tied for the lead in the division every day since July 19 after pulling off an impressive comeback from 6.5 games down at the start of July.
It has been fun to watch. It’s also been nerve-wracking, because the Rays have kept the same pace as the Orioles for all of August. Despite putting an 18-9 month in the books, the O’s gained no ground on their closest opponent. The Rays went 17-8. The two teams have a crucial four-game set coming in the middle of the month that will tell a lot of the results.
Orioles fans polled in this week’s SB Nation MLB Reacts survey are collectively confident in our favorite baseball team holding on to win their first division title since 2014:
I am certainly not 89% confident.
Much more likely - nearly certain, in fact - is that the Orioles will be playing in some kind of playoff series this year. They will have to decide, and fans like us will surely have opinions about, which pitcher should go as their Game 1 starter in however many series they play where they can line up their best guy for Game 1.
The survey asked whether you’d go for Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, and Dean Kremer, and the results aren’t particularly close:
Good job to the 71% of you who chose the most consistently good Orioles starting pitcher across the whole of the 2023 season to date as being the guy who should get the ball in Game 1 of a series.
The wildest dream, one that has not happened in the lifetime of anyone born later than mid-October 1983, is that the Orioles might win the World Series. The national Reacts audience was polled on this question, and there’s no surprise who came out on top there, either:
Atlanta clearly has the best team in MLB in the regular season, which of course guarantees them absolutely nothing in the postseason but gives them a pretty decent chance of getting through to a second title in three years. Fans agreed.
The Orioles - to my surprise - are tied for third. Maybe O’s fans just stuffed the ballot box, but maybe people out there are starting to see the O’s as a decent dark horse. Baseball Reference’s playoff odds give the O’s an 11% chance of winning the World Series based on where things stand right now. I’d take a one-in-nine shot right now. FanGraphs is less optimistic, at 4.1%. Still not bad.
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