Do the Orioles need an extended win streak to make the playoffs?

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J.J. Hardy

Aug. 13, 2013

The Orioles arrived in Arizona this week having won seven of their last 11 games. Admit it, you wanted more. I sure did. I'm still waiting on that extended win streak that finally puts the Orioles on solid footing in the postseason race. This desire is driven more by heart than it is by head, and the truth is a big win streak is not a must. Given what's been happening in baseball this year, it only feels that way.

The Atlanta Braves recently concluded a 14-game win streak that has provided them with a cushion at the top of the N.L. East essentially twice the size of any other division leader. Before that it was the Detroit Tigers winning 12 straight to create a gap for themselves in the A.L. Central. The L.A. Dodgers used a 15-game road win streak to help move from last place at the end of June to, currently, the top of the mountain in the N.L. West with the second-largest division lead in baseball. And of course there's Toronto's 11-game win streak, which had everyone thinking for a while that the A.L. East might not have even one team with a losing record.

The Orioles longest win streak in 2013 is five games, from July 14 to July 22. Their longest losing streak is six games, from May 14 to May 20. Despite this imbalance, the O's continue to be part of the postseason discussion by winning series; sweeps and win streaks, however, have remained elusive. Their first three-game sweep came at the end of June against the Yankees, and they've added only one more, versus Texas, since then. It appears that a double-digit win streak is not in the offing this season. The good news is that it doesn't need to be.

Since 1990, the Orioles have strung together 10 or more consecutive victories in a season only twice. The first was a 10-game streak in 1993 and the second was a 13-game run in 1999. They finished in third place and fourth place, respectively, those two seasons. Compare those win streaks to the ones posted by the three most-recent Orioles playoff teams: six games (2012), seven games (1997), and five games (1996). Go back a bit further and you'll see that the 1983 Orioles best effort was an eight-game win streak. 

Bad Orioles teams have had longer win streaks than the 2013 squad and great Orioles teams have failed to post the double-digit win streaks that grab national attention. Slow and steady can win the race. It's simply that this season has featured a lot of teams using sprints to get ahead of the pack. 

Here's the full rundown of Orioles win streaks since 1990:

2012 - 6

2011 - 6

2010 - 4

2009 - 5

2008 - 6

2007 - 6

2006 - 4

2005 - 8

2004 - 8

2003 - 6

2002 - 4

2001 - 5

2000 - 6

1999 - 13 

1998 - 9

1997 - 7

1996 - 5

1995 - 5

1994 - 4

1993 - 10

1992 - 7

1991 - 5

1990 - 6 

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