The Baltimore Orioles finished in first place…in August.
With a record of 17-11, the previously hapless Orioles not only completed the month of August with a winning record for the first time since Geronimo Berroa started at the designated hitter spot, but with more wins than the entire A.L. East as well.
Brian Matusz provided the Orioles with another strong outing last night, while the offense, led by Adam Jones, Luke Scott, and Felix Pie did the rest, plating five runs.
Scott and Pie hit back-to-back dingers in the eight to give the Birds a three run lead and plenty of cushion for Koji Uehara, who recorded a five out save.
Tonight the O’s face their nemesis, Jon Lester who is a sickening 12-0 vs. Baltimore with a 2.00 ERA.
While the O’s beat a struggling Josh Beckett, and a depleted Red Sox lineup last night, tonight is a perfect opportunity to make a statement against one of the game’s best lefties.
September is a critical month for Baltimore as they need to continue their solid play and prove to the rest of the league, and potential free agents that the Birds are no longer the American League’s doormat.
It’s tough to be completely sold on a team with a .371 winning percentage, but the next month will prove to be a good barometer to measure exactly what this club is made of, moving into the offseason.
Baltimore plays 23 of their final 29 games vs. A.L. East opponents with six vs. New York, six vs. Tampa, five vs. Boston, and six vs. Toronto.
The other six games are against a Detroit ballclub that won’t necessarily lie down at the Birds’ feet.
How ’bout playing the role of spoiler for once instead of just mailing it in and waiting for the season to be over.