Playoff baseball just got real for several teams other than the Baltimore Orioles.
In a pair of big trades, two teams that the Baltimore Orioles need to pass, the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros, signed players that will boost their rosters.
Those two teams added a Cy Young pitcher and an All-Star outfielder to improve their chances of making the playoffs.
What does this mean for the Orioles?
It means that they have to work even harder to get more wins.
Angels add to their offense
The biggest issue with be with the Los Angeles Angels. The Orioles have been a game or two behind the Halos in the race for the second Wild Card spot for most of August. The two teams faced each other six times in August and the Halos won four of those games.
Now that the Angels have added Justin Upton to the roster, they added an outfielder who has a WAR of 5.0 in his fourth All-Star season. He has 28 home runs on the season and a career-high slugging percentage of .542. It’s going to be tough for teams to beat the Angels to help the Orioles move up in the Wild Card race.
The last time the Orioles faced Upton, he blasted a grand slam off of Mychal Givens. Upton is tough, especially in clutch situations.
Astros add a pitcher
The other trade that will make it more difficult for the O’s to succeed in the playoffs involved Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. The Cy Young pitcher was traded at the last minute to give the Astros a better chance to get to the World Series. If the Orioles happen to make it into the Wild Card game and get into the playoffs, they will have to get past him and the rest of the solid team.
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The Orioles have had difficulty with Verlander over the years and only Tim Beckham, Manny Machado, and J.J. Hardy have averages against him that are over .250. All three have homered against him. Over the years, he has held the Orioles to an average of .226. The Astros made a good move to increase their odds of getting deep into the playoffs.
Help from the Yankees?
The one that is going for the Orioles and their playoff chances is the New York Yankees. While the Orioles were on their seven-game win streak, the Yankees won two of their seven games. This put the Yankees only one game up in the Wild Card. Of course, the Orioles’ loss against the Toronto Blue Jays knocked them back a game as the Yankees won against the Boston Red Sox. The AL East battle with the Red Sox and the Yankees can help the Orioles move up in the Wild Card race – especially if the Red Sox can get a few wins.
The fight to the postseason has gotten real. September call-ups are happening and teams are signing players with immense contracts with the goal of winning the ring. The Orioles have a big fight on their hands.