You can tell by the headline, but just to reaffirm: This is an article about the Baltimore Orioles’ playoff chances as of Sept. 15. There are 21 days remaining in the regular season, and Baltimore has a statistically significant chance of playing postseason ball. The fact that we are even having this conversation at this point of the year is a victory for the O’s in its own right. They probably don’t want to hear anything about moral victories, but this team was widely expected to finish with more than 100 losses for the fourth consecutive full season. What they have accomplished so far has been one of the best stories in baseball this year.
But while the Orioles’ October hopes are still alive, they are fading. Let’s take a look at where they stand as of Thursday.
Will Orioles make the playoffs?
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Baltimore entered Thursday four games behind the Rays for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. But that hill is steeper than it seems since the Orioles lost the season series against the Rays, 10-9. That gives Tampa Bay the tiebreaker, so Baltimore really trails the Rays by five games. Besides the long odds here, FanGraphs puts the team’s playoff odds at just 2.5 percent. But compared to where they opened this season — DK Sportsbook listed Baltimore at -10000 to miss the playoffs — the Orioles have made eye-opening progress in 2022.
Baltimore’s remaining schedule is sort of a mixed bag, but it leans difficult. On Friday, the Orioles will begin a series versus the current No. 1 AL Wild Card team, the Toronto Blue Jays, whom the Orioles will play six times down the stretch. They also have seven games remaining against the top two teams in the AL — four home games versus the Astros and three games against the Yankees in the Bronx. If you want to think positively about that tough road, the Orioles took two of three games in Houston last month, limiting the powerful Astros to only four runs during that series. And the Yankees have been much more beatable during the season’s second half. But the truth is that stretch does Baltimore’s playoff chances no favors.
The Orioles will play the bottom-feeding Tigers three times later this month before visiting the Red Sox for a four-game set at Fenway Park. Boston looked listless in its two-game series versus the Yankees earlier this week, but it did take two of three games from Baltimore at Camden Yards last weekend.
This Cinderella story isn’t going to have the happy ending that the Orioles want. If the Rays play just .500 ball the rest of the way, Baltimore would need to go 15-5 over its final 20 games to leapfrog its AL East rival. The Orioles will fall short of the playoffs this year. But after an extended stint as cellar dwellers, their future looks quite bright.