Despite the hot start and magical math, Baltimore’s gone 1–4 to start July, and an Orioles division title would require Mark Trumbo continuing to hit .281, Hyun Soo Kim — whom the Orioles wanted to send back to South Korea this spring — continuing to hit .338/.423/.478, or some other equally improbable event. Plus, the Orioles trail both Toronto and Boston in run differential.
The various public projection systems share that skepticism: Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs have Baltimore as the third most likely AL East team to make the playoffs, behind Boston and Toronto.
Absent a big trade or an unexpected hot streak, it’s hard to see the Orioles holding off both the Red Sox and Blue Jays until October.
These same couple thoughts get written about the Orioles around this time of year every other season. Just sub in Steve Pearce or Nelson Cruz for Mark Trumbo and the Yankees for the Red Sox or Blue Jays and this could’ve been written in 2014 or 2012. They should be on their 10th straight last place finish if Fangraphs or BP projections could get a good read on them.
That’s all not to say this will be proven incorrect. They could definitely fall to 3rd by the end of the season. But I’m not seeing much difference between Baltimore, Boston, and Toronto. They’re all teams with great offenses and rotations with glaring holes in them. If you factor in bullpens I’m not sure there’s much difference in the pitching staffs as a whole.