Baltimore Orioles enter the most important part of the schedule


The Baltimore Orioles have flown the coup – please don’t take that literally! No folks, the Mayflower moving vans haven’t driven away from Camden Yards. But the O’s are off to the west coast for the next week-and-a-half. While the series’ against Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle certainly aren’t division games, I would submit that they might end up being the most important of the season.

Of those three teams, Anaheim is the only one that’s in contention. So I suppose that the series at “the big A” might be the most important of the three, especially since Anaheim sits in the first wild card spot. But this trip is always tough for the O’s given the distance. Furthermore the games are much harder for fans to follow given the fact that many of them start at 10 PM eastern time.

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  • However the fact is that the O’s have struggled in the past out on the west coast. That hasn’t always been the case, but needless to say it’s fairly notewothy. Oakland (where the O’s find themselves starting tonight) is a tough park for the Birds given the fact that it favors pitchers. When you’re a team that relies so heavily on the long ball and you go into a park that doesn’t yield as many home runs, that makes things difficult. It’s also worth mentioning that Oakland might be the worst ballpark in the majors – for both the home and away teams.

    The west coast swing is potentially the biggest set of games on the schedule because the AL East is so tight. Granted the month of September will be full of division games, however if the Orioles don’t have their act together on this road trip they literally could fall out of post season contention by the time they get home late next week.

    Last year many analysts felt that the O’s heading to the west coast almost squarely out of the all-star break would eventually do them in. It was quite the contrary in fact; that ended up being a strong road trip, and it gave them a bump that culminated in them winning the AL East. The hope on the Orioles’ part is that the same thing happens this year. On paper that should be the case given the fact that two of the three teams (Oakland and Seattle) are out of contention for all intents and purposes. But the games aren’t played on paper.

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    Courtesy of Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    In 2012 the O’s didn’t have a big west coast trip, as they ended up piecemealing their series’ out there – which made things very difficult. So in that sense the Orioles are lucky in that they only have to pay one visit out that way. However in the same respect the schedule doesn’t do them many favors. Ideally I would submit that teams should get a day off in between ending a series on one coast and then traveling to another. Instead the O’s played yesterday at home, and then tonight in Oakland.

    The point here is that from the Orioles’ perspective they’ll literally be playing tonight’s game at 10 PM – according to their body clocks. However the Oakland series ends on Wednesday afternoon, and they get a day off on Thursday before opening up in Anaheim on Friday. Ideally that day off should have been on Monday – with back-to-back series in Oakland and Anaheim. But that’s life in baseball. The O’s will ironically have a day off between coast-to-coast trips on the way home, next Thursday.

    But regardless of the time difference or anything else, this is an important stretch for the Birds – potentially THE most important stretch. Keep in mind also that if something goes awry with an injury or something along those lines, the O’s will be almost a world away from their minor league affiliates. Whereas on a normal day it might take only a few hours for someone to get to Baltimore if needed, it could be a day in this case. But those things are out of anyone’s control. What is in the Orioles’ control is winning the majority of the games – and that’s a must.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Tommy Hunter was part of something special

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