The Orioles helped the American League East make some baseball history on Tuesday night!
AL East’s Dominance Reaches Historical Point
When the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Cubs last night, they helped the AL East etch their name in baseball’s history books. The Orioles – now 44-44 on the season – are still in last place in the fiercely competitive AL East, but with Baltimore reaching the .500 mark last night, the AL East became the only division in baseball to have every team at or above .500.
This is just the fourth time in the Wild Card era (save for the shortened 2020 season) that a division has had all of its teams at .500 or better on July 12 or later, according to Elias Sports Bureau. As I mentioned earlier this week, only the 2005 NL East has accomplished this feat through the entire season in the Wild Card era. As far as how many times it has happened to this point in the season, this has happened three other times. It happened in 2012 (AL East), 2005 (NL East), and 2000 (AL West).
The Orioles’ victory last night also carried some historical significance relative to Baltimore alone as the team pushed their winning streak to nine games, their longest since 1999 when they won 13 straight.
The legendary Cal Ripken Jr. was still playing for the Orioles in ’99, as were stars of the 90s like Albert Belle, B.J. Surhoff, Harold Baines, Mike Mussina, and Delino DeShields who now has a kid playing in the big leagues.
The Orioles would finish that 1999 season with a 78-84 record, good for fourth place in the AL East. I would imagine the O’s fans would take 74 wins this season after losing 100 games in three of the last four campaigns, especially with all arrows pointing up in Baltimore when it comes to the future.
Mike Trout Injury
Despite having two of the game’s most elite players on their roster, the Angels aren’t having a great season. The Halos are 38-50 and a whopping 20 games behind the Astros in the AL West, and they’ve already fired their skipper with no such results as the ones we’ve seen in Philadelphia, with the Phillies going 26-20 since they fired Joe Girardi. To make matters worse, Mike trout left Tuesday nights to Houston with back spasms.
“They ran some tests, but I don’t know the specifics,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin told reporters after the game. “I talked to Frosty, and he said everything checked out alright. [Trout is] just sore and it kind of locked up on him. It’s spasms. There’s nothing structural in there. So when it calms down, he’ll be back in there.”
The Angels have four more games before the All-Star break, and while it does seem like they avoided a worst-case scenario with Trout’s back injury, there’s a chance he might not play again until the Angels pick things up after the break against the Braves. There’s also the question of whether Trout takes the break to rest his back (opening up another AL roster spot at the ASG) or decides to participate.
Honestly, a rest might not be bad for Trout, who slashed .167/.231/.250 with one home run and four RBIs in July.
Chris Sale Returns to the Red Sox
No runs, three hits, five strikeouts, one walk, and zero broken televisions over five innings of work is what Chris Sale’s return to the Boston Red Sox looked like on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay.
Sale threw 78 pitches in his return to the Red Sox after a myriad of injuries the last couple of years for the lanky southpaw, who topped out at 96.9 mph on Tuesday.
“I’m not broken anymore.” Sale told reporters in Tampa Bay. “It’s different this year. It’s definitely different this year. That’s all I’ve really got to say.”
Sale’s return to the Red Sox could be huge if he is indeed not broken anymore. The Red Sox are 47-41 and tied for a Wild Card spot in the American League with multiple teams just games behind them as we approach the All-Star break next week.
Odds and Ends …
- Matt Olson’s mammoth 426-foot, two-run home run gave the Braves a lead over the Mets in the bottom of the sixth inning in Atlanta, and the Braves would not relinquish that lead as they moved back to 1.5 games behind New York in the NL East.
- Oh, the irony! The Yankees, who lead baseball in come-from-behind victories, coughed up a three-run lead to the Reds in the ninth inning on Tuesday night.
- If you were wondering, the last time Miguel Cabrera stole a base was in 2020, but Cabrera hadn’t stolen more than one base in a season since 2013, when he stole three.
- Some All-Star replacements were named on Tuesday:
- What a grab by George Springer. I miss Web Gems on Baseball Tonight back in the day. Sigh.
- The Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A social media person has jokes! 😂