The Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays in their 71st game of the season this afternoon at Tropicana Field. Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman is scheduled to pitch against Rays right-hander Alex Cobb, and first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

How does this year's squad stack up through 70 games against successful Orioles teams of the past?

The Orioles' 36-34 record this season is equal to the club's record at this point in 1974, when the Oakland Athletics eliminated them in the American League Championship Series. The Orioles never have had a worse record through 70 games in 11 playoff appearances since the club moved to Baltimore in 1954.

With high expectations this season, we'll try to track how the club is performing periodically compared to previous years when the Orioles made the playoffs. As long as the Orioles remain in playoff contention, we'll track their performance against history. If they fall out of the pennant chase, we'll look at their record in different ways.

The Orioles are in third place in the AL East. They're four games back of the Toronto Blue Jays (41-31) and 1/2-game behind the New York Yankees (36-33).

Here's how the Orioles fared in previous seasons when they made the playoffs.

Interesting game

Right-hander Jason Hammel struck out 10 batters in eight innings as the Orioles beat the Washington Nationals, 2-1, on June 22, 2012. Jim Johnson gave up a two-out walk in the ninth before retiring Danny Espinosa to pick up his 21st save of the season. Hammel improved to 8-2 with the victory, but he wouldn't win again that season. He was 0-4 with a 6.04 ERA in 28 1/3 innings over his final six starts and missed nearly two months with a knee injury. 

2012

Record: 40-30

Season finish: 93-69, lost in AL Division Series to New York Yankees

1997

Record: 48-22

Season finish: 98-64, lost in AL Championship Series to Cleveland Indians

1996

Record: 38-31

Season finish: 88-74, lost in ALCS to Yankees

1983

Record: 40-30

Season finish: 98-64, beat Philadelphia Phillies in World Series