Despite losing their game against Houston last night, the Baltimore Orioles still took the series against a very tough opponent at precisely the right time. With the Rays continuing to play pretty well, Baltimore has mostly kept pace with them to retain a 2.5 game lead in the AL East.
With a fairly soft schedule the rest of the season against the Guardians, Nationals, and Red Sox, the Orioles are in a great spot to win the division. While nothing is certain yet especially with the Rays lurking, clinching the division soon and making a real run at home field advantage throughout the playoffs is a genuine possibility.
Baltimore Orioles Magic Number and Playoff Odds - 9/21
As of today with ten games left in the 2023 season, the Orioles' magic number to win the American League East over the Rays is 8. Of note, that doesn't account for tiebreakers and Baltimore is in a great spot there as well as they won the season series against Tampa which effectively gives them another game in hand over the Rays.
The Orioles have already clinched a playoff spot, but home field advantage is still very much in question. Tampa is the only real threat to the Orioles getting home field on the American League side, but the Orioles have also been creeping up on the Braves for the best record in the league and are now just two games back of Atlanta.
As for the playoff odds, the Orioles remain in great shape. Fangraphs currently gives the Orioles a 91.9% chance of winning the AL East (which would effectively give them home field advantage through at least the ALCS) while Baseball-Reference likes them even better at 94.5% to win the division.
In short, it is becoming increasingly likely that the Orioles will clinch the AL East title over the next week based on how they are playing and their remaining schedule. However, nothing is certain and with a very game Rays team trying to chase them down, Baltimore is going to have to play well to get to celebrate their first division title since 2014.