We probably might have believed the Orioles would be a good team this year and maybe even make a playoff run. But thinking they would play .660 ball the first 50 games or .632 ball the last 19 games against winning teams might have been a stretch.
But the Orioles are indeed 12-7 in the last 19 against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto and New York. They are indeed 33-17 and that win percentage would produce 107 wins over the full season.
The Tampa Bay Rays are the only team that can keep them out of first-place right now.
But while they trail the Rays by three games, they are now four games better than the Yankees, seven ahead of Boston and 7.5 up on Toronto. They are two games better than Atlanta and 2.5 better than the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They have won four straight AL East series for the first time since June and July of 2016. And they have won back-to-back series in the Bronx for the first time since the 2016 season. They are 9-3 in their last 12 AL East contests and 11-7 (.611) for the year within the division.
Yep, playing better than .600 ball against easily the best division in the sport.
Their pitchers held the Yankees to three hits, matching New York's season low and to zero homers, after they had hit two or more in 11 of the last 12 games. And they had hit 38 the previous 17 games.
The Orioles are 6-5 their last 11 games versus the Yankees since July 23, 2022. And they are 4-2 the last six games at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 30, 2022.
Did anyone mention these are no longer the Orioles the Yankee routinely whipped?
Right-hander Kyle Gibson pitched a gem, seven scoreless on two hits. He has three of the Orioles’ five seven-inning outings. He is the first Baltimore pitcher to toss at least seven scoreless against the Yankees since Kevin Gausman on Aug. 28, 2016, at Yankee Stadium.
Gibson allowed one run in 14 innings (an ERA of 0.64) as the Orioles went 5-1 on their AL East Road trip to Toronto and New York.
Should be a fun weekend at Camden Yards with the AL West leading Texas Rangers (31-18) in town and the Orioles wearing their City Connect jerseys tonight and tomorrow.
Very quick update: Orioles director of player development Matt Blood was on 105.7 FM the Fan on Thursday. He provided a couple of quick injury updates, saying Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Colton Cowser should not be out too much longer and he said the organization is still assessing how long Kyle Stowers will be out.
On Jackson Holliday’s fast start at Aberdeen, Blood said: “This kid is just a really impressive talent. He’s got the ability to swing at the right pitches and he has the ability to square the ball up on a consistent basis. If you can do those two things, you’ve got a chance to compete at any level and he’s doing pretty well at Aberdeen and has been really exciting to watch.”
Rutschman on MLB Network: While the Orioles were in New York this week, O’s catcher Adley Rutschman had a one-on-one interview with MLBN’s Lauren Shehadi, an O’s fan while growing up in northern Virginia.
Rutschman is a confident player and confident in his abilities, but he told Shehadi that was not always true.
“I really didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself I’d say when I was in middle school/high school. I thought I was good, but I didn’t know if I was good enough,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was good enough to play college baseball and then I didn’t know if I was good enough to play DI. And then I was like I don’t know if I’m good enough to play pro baseball. I always thought I was good, but you always have that doubt that creeps in.”
Rutschman was asked if those doubts still motivate him in present day?
“I would say now it’s more, so I want to be the best version of myself as a baseball player and I focus on trying to make the most out of every day and make sure I am not taking anything for granted.”
Rutschman played in his 162nd career game on Wednesday night. He has batted .259/.374/.439 (149-for-576) with 63 extra-base hits (42-2Bs, 3B, 20 HRs), 94 runs scored, 67 RBIs, and 105 walks in that span.
Among players who have played their first 162 career games with the Orioles, Rutschman ranks first in walks, first in times reaching base safely (258), second in doubles (Machado, 48), third in runs scored (Roberts, 99; Bumbry, 95), and fourth in extra-base hits (Machado, 71; Santander, 70; Gibbons, 64). His .374 on-base percentage through his first 162 career games also leads O's batters with at least 250 plate appearances in that span.
This MLB Network tweet shows Rutschman's interview on the network.
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