The Baltimore Orioles had a good first half to the 2012 season but now is moving time. If they’re serious about closing the gap between them and the New York Yankees in the American League East, they’ll need to do work in their upcoming three-game series with them.
The O’s enter the series 7.5 games back of the Bronx Bombers and while that number sounds high, it is possible to overcome. For starters, the two teams will meet seven more times after this series and secondly, there is still more than two months of regular season action to go.
It’s fairly clear that the handicappers are going to have the O’s listed as an underdog on the MLB odds both in this series and futures to actually win the division. That’s understandable: the Yankees are a brand name and they’re usually in position to win the division. For Baltimore, it’s been a while since they’ve been playing this well at this point the season.
Even so, it’s possible that the Orioles are being slightly underestimated. They’ll have a chance to prove as much this week and they could be catching the Yankees at the perfect time. New York is battered and bruised as injuries have taken their toll. Alex Rodriguez (broken left hand) is now out of the lineup and that can be piled on top of the players already missing in action, such as Andy Pettitte, Michal Pineda, Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner. Baltimore is in much better shape physically and that could be just what the doctor ordered for them – even as the doctor spends plenty of time with the Yankees trying to heal them up.
If Baltimore can send a message in these upcoming three games, they could very well pull within striking range and put the pressure on the Yankees through August and September. On paper, it looks possible but the Orioles will have to execute over the last two months of the season as well as they did over the first two months.