The Orioles haven't reached the halfway point of the regular season quite yet, but they are putting the lie to the notion that the American League divisions are so imbalanced that the AL East teams are at an extreme disadvantage in the race for the two wild-card playoff berths.
If you ask Buck Showalter, he’ll probably tell you that the Orioles aren’t really interested in competing for the extra postseason berths. They’ve been there and done that, and they’d rather be guaranteed a place in the Division Series than earn another risky one-game playoff.
But the Orioles are currently in the first wild-card position in spite of the fact that the East features four of the seven teams in the American League with winning records.
The O’s moved to 1 ½ games up on the wild-card field with Sunday’s series-clinching victory over the first-place Red Sox, but they remain 1 ½ games out of the top spot in the division standings. They are 17-15 against their AL East rivals, which actually is only the third best record inside the division, but they have played better than the Yankees (and slightly better than the Red Sox) against the other divisions and National League competition.
There’s a long way to go, but it’s starting to look like at least one of the wild-card teams will come from the East. Based on head-to-head competition the past couple of years, the Orioles should be rooting for it to be the Red Sox.