In looking at how well the Orioles have played this year, probably the biggest factor in having a record 12 games over .500 is the club’s improved play within the American League East.
This comes as a big development since the Orioles are going to play more than 70 games in the division again this year.
Since 2009, here are the O’s records against the East:
* 2009: Went 24-48, .333 win percentage
* 2010: Went 24-49, .329 win percentage
* 2011: Went 28-45, .384 win percentage
* 2012: Are 13-7 so far, .650 win percentage
The Orioles are 3-5 this year against the Yankees and a combined 10-2 against the Red Sox, Rays and Jays. It is all very impressive.
Each of those teams recently had a season where they totally dominated the Orioles. The Birds were just 2-16 in 2009 against Boston, went 3-15 in 2008 versus Tampa Bay and 3-15 in 2010 against Toronto. New York has been a particular thorn in the side of the Orioles, winning every season series against Baltimore since 1997 (with a 9-9 tie in 2007) and with the O’s going 5-13 each of the last three years against the Bronx Bombers.
But things are different now. This team is playing solid, inspired baseball with confidence against everybody and that includes the Beasts of the East.
Maybe some of this started last year, when the Orioles won 10 of their last 15 in the division and played so well against Boston in the final weeks.
Earlier this year, from from April 24-May 12, the Orioles went 10-1 in an 11-game run against the East. Yes, that is pretty good.
They are 11-3 in their last 14 AL East games heading into this series with Boston beginning tonight. Not only are the Orioles no longer overwhelmed by their own division, they are winning against those teams and that is a key reason right now that they sit atop baseball’s best division.