MLB Power Rankings: Orioles are flying high, but can they keep it up?

by | Baseball Writer

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The 2014 season is quickly becoming one of my favorite of all-time. I don't want to get into the whole parity vs. mediocrity thing again, but instead wish to point out what great theater we could see moving forward.

Many "races" at this point are awfully close -- and can we really call them "races" before the All-Star Game? -- but even if they aren't, take what has happened in the AL East in the last month.

The Orioles trailed the Blue Jays by 6½ games after a loss on June 6. They were in third place. Now, the Orioles sit atop the division by 2½ games.

Sure, they were helped by the Blue Jays falling apart, having gone 10-20 since that date. But the Orioles had to take matters into their own hands as well, as they've now won 14 of their past 20, perhaps -- but maybe not -- culminating with their recent string of seven wins in eight games.

I believe that's what they call a little Oriole Magic, no?

The starting pitching, though definitely not bad, at least presents a question mark, but you have to love the offensive firepower and the back end of the bullpen. And, of course, there is the maestro Buck Showalter.

Earlier this season, I said the Blue Jays had emerged as the favorite in the muddled East because, well, they had at the time. But it's a marathon of a season (and note an important distinction that never is saying "favorite" or making a prediction equal to "oh my gosh, Snyder just said the division race is over and it's only May" -- please let's all be smarter than that) and right now the Orioles have definitely moved themselves into the position of "favorite" in the AL East.

That could change rather easily in a matter of weeks, of course. Look no further than the Orioles themselves. Also consider this specific example a microcosm for just how fun all of baseball can be as we move firmly into the second half of this wacky season.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: Do keep in mind these were filed the morning of Wed., July 9. More importantly, definitely remember that if we have differing opinions, it means someone is stupid and/or biased -- and probably doesn't even follow baseball.

Nelson Cruz and the O's are perched atop the AL East standings -- for now. (USATSI)
Nelson Cruz and the O's are perched atop the AL East standings -- for now. (USATSI)


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