These next eight days are ultra-important for the Orioles.
They won’t be season defining, but if the Birds want to be seriously considered as threats in the American League, they need to do some heavy lifting between now and next Wednesday, June 18.
A 4-0 win over Boston last night got things started, with the Red Sox using the only decent starting pitcher the Birds will see in this series. If the O’s can’t beat these two scrubs (Workman and De Le Rosa) the Sox are throwing at them the next two nights, that’s on them.
OK, then the varsity shows up in the form of the front-running Toronto Blue Jays, who visit OPACY for four games starting on Thursday. This gives the Orioles a real chance to carve into that 5.5 game lead (as of today) Toronto has established just past the one-third mark of the season. Then, it’s down to St. Petersburg for what should be a 3-game sweep of the lowly Rays.
If the O’s can put together a 7-2 mark over the next nine games, that tells us something.
If they stumble along and go 5-4 or worse, they’ll continue to tread water in the East while the Blue Jays soar.
Oddly enough, the Birds haven’t been any good at home this season (13-14), but these next two vs. Boston are absolutely winnable and then they need to stand toe-to-toe with the Blue Jays for four days.
The Orioles have been extremely unreliable through 62 games of 2014. Win a few, lose a few, cough one up you shouldn’t, win one you shouldn’t. It’s all added up to a 32-30 record, good enough for second place in the division — but scaring no one, I might add.
That said, after next Wednesday’s series finale in Tampa Bay, the Birds could be 39-32 and starting to put some distance between themselves and mediocrity.
They just need a nice 7-2 run here over the next eight days.
Sounds like wishful thinking for a team that has struggled to be consistent, but given the opponents, it’s very realistic.