The Baltimore Orioles team’s expectations for the 2022 MLB season were low, and for the first two months, they undoubtedly lived up to the lackluster projections.
However, there is a light shining at the end of the tunnel, as the month of May has delivered a plethora of positive results from Maryland’s beloved baseball team.
Of course, the Orioles are 5th in the AL East division, and facts are facts; they’re still in the worst position possible and are one of the weakest performing squads from a statistical standpoint. However, the month of May has seen the O’s win 10 games, including three walk-off wins during the previous week.
This past Sunday and a 7-6, 11th inning walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays became the Orioles’ third consecutive walk-off winning game – prior to this, it was a three-run homer thanks to Anthony Santander versus the New York Yankees on Thursday and a two-run homer by Rougned Odor in the 13th inning on Friday.
For the first time since 1974, the Orioles won via walk-off in three successive games, and manager Brandon Hyde highlighted it was down to the grind.
“We don’t quit,” Hyde said. “We grinded.”
Down 6-4 to the Rays on Sunday, the heavens opened as lightning and rain shot a comeback into the O’s as they struck down Tampa’s bullpen. Following a weather delay that lasted close to one hour, Austin Hays’ confirmed his team would have the final swing of the game.
Odor was up, and he didn’t falter his presented opportunity.
“I don’t know what it is,” Hays commented. “I think Roogie brings a lot of grit and just hard-nosed baseball to this team. You see how well he’s been hitting late in games, big-time situations, pinch-hitting situations. I think that’s gone to the rest of the hitters in the line-up. I think he’s a huge piece of that, just mindset-wise, and just never quitting.”
When Spenser Watkins was forced to exit the game after a mere 13 pitches, the O’s maintained composure and fully embraced the grind despite losing one of their main guys.
“I really didn’t know what we we’re gonna do,” Hyde said.
Dissimilar to the Orioles’ offense earlier in the season, they banded together and fought for a winning result. “Our pitching being a lot better this year, it just gives the offense a chance,” Hays continued. “It allows our offense to do some of the things that they can’t do when we’re losing by seven or eight runs every night. “Everybody contributed. Our guys played to the end.”
The recent turnaround for the Orioles meant more than winning. The initial walk-off win meant they would avoid a sweep to the Yankees, as their rival from New York has recently dominated their ballpark.
Then, Odor’s hit on Friday prevented fifteen consecutive losses to the Rays and an MLB historical stat where a team hadn’t lost this many meetings versus a single team since 1969.
Sunday, however, was bittersweet, winning their first series over Tampa since 2020.
“We’ve lost many close games to these guys over the years,” Hays said. “We don’t want to lose those games anymore.”
Three has seemed like the magic number for Orioles this month. Adley Rutschman who was a first overall draft pick – finally had his debut Saturday after waiting three years since being drafted.
Bet on the O’s & Top Prospect Makes His Debut
Predicted to win only 61.5 games, the lowest projected win total for a Major League Baseball team this season, they are now the best team to bet on for two months following these projections.
Since the inception of legalized sports betting in MD (Dec. 9, 2021), avid sports bettors haven’t enjoyed a more successful month backing a team from their state. The Orioles have now produced a 7-3 winning record for moneyline backers, amping up the figures for sports bets placed on MLB in the month of May.
The Houston Astros are the only other MLB team to have delivered a greater moneyline record in May (9-1). To add, in respect of their projected 61.5 game win total for the season, the Orioles are already approaching ¼ of this total through 30 games.
One question lingering in the minds of Orioles fans, can the arrival of Adley Rutschman make a real impact?
Rutschman arrived at Camden Yards on Saturday, as his minor league stint came to an end. A 6-1 loss to the Rays wasn’t the most positive of beginnings, but his arrival is just the beginning of an expected turnaround for the O’s franchise.
“We’re going to see more guys, like Adley, come up here over the next year or so,” said Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini. “That’s really exciting, and it’s exhilarating for the fans, too, because I know they’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”
Waiting has been a drawn-out story for O’s fans during five successive losing seasons, including three 100-loss campaigns. But the likes of Rutschman will be critical for a positive turnaround in Maryland, and he’ll soon stand beside more up-and-coming talent.
Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Stowers, Gunnar Henderson, Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, and Coby Mayo are a handful of names that could soon join Rutschman. This moment will be when an authentic reconstruction in Baltimore can begin.
However, Saturday was a significant step forward.
“It’s Mike Elias first Draft pick, and it’s been a process from the day we got here,” Hyde said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and we still are going through a lot of things. But it means a lot to have [Elias’] first pick get here. You look at the line-up today; there’ a lot of young, talented guys in there.”
With that said, Rutschman is the spearhead of the group, based on his skillset of attributes alone.