After finishing tied for the worst record in MLB last season, the Baltimore Orioles are the surprise team of the 2022 season.
No one could see this coming, not even the Orioles.
Baltimore had 52 wins all of last season.
They currently sit at 60 wins on August 16 and are 1.5 games out of the third AL Wild Card spot.
The last time they won 60 games in a season was 2017, now they are competing for a playoff spot.
In a long 162-game season like that in the MLB, it is rare to see a turnaround like the one the Orioles are having.
The Orioles have used all those years of losing to fill their farm system with young talent that is now helping the team.
Adley Rutschman is the first Major League catcher since at least 1900 to record 23 doubles in his first 66 career games. pic.twitter.com/cp0bkJViHp
— Birdland Insider (@BirdlandInsider) August 14, 2022
But, do not tell that to this young team.
Since the All-Star break, the Orioles are 14-9 and have the third-best record in the American League.
Best records since All-Star Break
1. Dodgers: 20-4
2. Mets: 17-6
T-3. Atlanta: 15-8
T-3. Phillies: 15-8
5. Cardinals: 13-7
T-6. Astros: 16-10
T-6. Guardians: 16-10
8. Orioles: 14-9
9. White Sox: 14-10
10. Diamondbacks: 13-10
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 16, 2022
They have made their mark against left-handed pitchers.
Baltimore is 25-17 in games against left-handed starters.
That record puts them second in the American League in such games.
The Orioles are going to have to earn their way into the playoffs with the difficult schedule ahead of them.
With 47 games left to play the Orioles currently have the 10th-hardest strength of schedule according to tankathon.com.
Having to play in the AL East does not help matters because they still have to play the Yankees and Blue Jays.
ESPN.com gives the Orioles a 4.6% chance to make the playoffs.
The odds being against this team is nothing new to them though.
Most people thought this team was destined for another last-place finish.
The O’s are competing with five other teams for the three Wild Card spots.
The Tampa Bay Rays are the only one of those five teams with a harder strength of schedule than the Orioles.
For Baltimore to finish off this storybook season in the playoffs they are going to need to play well on the road.
They are currently 27-34 on the road and still have a series against the Astros, Guardians, and Yankees on the mend.
No matter how the season ends this Orioles team is building a culture of winning, something they have not had in years.
Manager Brandon Hyde is deserving of credit for that.
Hyde, who was with the Chicago Cubs before taking the job in Baltimore, is not new to quick turnarounds.
He saw something similar when he was with the Cubs, a young team that eventually turned into World Series champions.
The Orioles will not be competing for the World Series this year but their pieces are starting to move into place for them to be contenders for years to come.
Let’s see over the next month-and-a-half if the surprise team in the MLB has one last push in them.