How Can the Baltimore Orioles Finish Strong in September?
The Baltimore Orioles wrapped up the final game of the series against the Minnesota Twins today, winning three of the four contests between the two teams. The Orioles dominated the series with powerful hitting, as they launched eight total home runs off Twins pitchers. Baltimore leads the MLB with 176 home runs this season and has relied on the long ball to propel them into first place in the division. With a record of 79-57, The Orioles are 8.5 games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East as we begin the month of September. For the Orioles to finish strong in the final months of the season, several key things must happen. First and most importantly, the Orioles need to remain healthy and avoid any more injuries to key players. Baltimore has already seen key players Matt Wieters and Manny Machado be lost for the season due to surgery and cannot afford to lose another player at a critical point in the year. It’s worth nothing that shortstop J.J. Hardy left today’s game with lower back spams and is considered day-to-day. Baltimore must also continue playing consistent baseball within its own division. After hosting three games against the Cincinnati Reds, the Orioles will play 23 consecutive games against teams in its own division. In order for the Orioles to claim its first AL East title since 1997, they must fight off the competition, as they have been doing this year. Baltimore has a winning record against every division rival, going 8-3 against New York, 11-5 against Tampa Bay, and a 7-6 record against both Toronto and Boston. The Orioles are heading into the final month of the season in a great position, but must remain focused to prepare for success in the postseason. Baltimore hasn’t had a long winning streak (five) or losing streak (four) this year, but has consistently won series after series to put them in an ideal situation. As the rosters now begin to expand in September and final acquisitions are made, this team looks prepared to finish strong and to compete in October. Ben Linton is a Contributing Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Ben_Linton91, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.