For those of us fans whose teams are on the outside looking in during the playoffs (again), it’s the time of year for season recaps. To that end, Roar from 34 considers which five teams have the biggest beef with the Orioles now that the season is over. Each team’s record against the Orioles is in parentheses.
[Which team do you think has the biggest gripe with the Orioles? Vote in the poll in the sidebar. ]
5. New York Yankees (13-5) – The Yankees dominated the Orioles again in 2010. What’s there to be upset about?
Dumb question. For Yankees fans, there’s always something to be upset about. The Yankees finished one game back of the Rays in the A.L. East. Shouldn’t they have gone 14-4 against Baltimore? 15-3? Heck, should they ever lose to the Birds?
The Yankees went 3-3 against the Buck Showalter Orioles during a stretch of the season where every game supposedly counts more (which actually makes no sense, but since when is sports logic actually logical?). Most painful among those losses to the Orioles was the Sept. 17 extra-innings defeat at Camden Yards following a Mariano Rivera blown save (Luuuuuuuke) that helped make the immortal closer appear more human headed into the playoffs.
Still, any gripes Yankees fans have with the Orioles are misplaced. New York failed to win the season series against any other division opponent. The Yankees split with Boston (9-9) and lost the season series against both the Rays (8-10) and the Blue Jays (8-10). Think New York’s ready to consider divisional realignment?
4. Seattle Mariners (3-6) – If you had polled every American League manager at the All-Star break and asked which A.L. team was most likely to lose 100 games in 2010, my guess is the 59-loss Orioles would have been at the top of every ballot except one (If there’s one thing I loved about interim manager Juan Samuel it was his optimism).
Ultimately, the Mariners were the American League’s only 100-loss team thanks in part to the team’s 3-6 record against the Orioles. One of those losses came on Adam Jones’ two out, walk-off bunt. As if Seattle fans didn’t hate Baltimore enough after that Erik Bedard deal.
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (0-6) – The Angels were the only team that couldn’t beat the Orioles, which helps explain why Los Angeles-Anaheim finished with an overall losing record (80-82) for the first time since 2003. It also was the first time since 2003 that the Angels finished below second place in their own division. To make matters worse, the Angels lost one of those games to the Orioles on a Cesar Izturis walk-off single, which accounted for one of Izturis’ 28 total RBI in 2010.
2. Texas Rangers (4-6) – It’s a mixed bag for Texas, but they still rank in the No. 2 spot given that: 1. The Rangers had a losing record against the Orioles, and 2. The Rangers finished four games behind Minnesota for post-season positioning.
The bad news is that four games separated the Rangers from playing the Yankees at home rather than playing Tampa on the road. The good news is that four games separated the Rangers from playing the Yankees at home rather than playing Tampa on the road.
The Rangers lost the League Division Series to the Yankees in 1996, 1998, and 1999 (i.e. the previous three times they won the A.L. West). Perhaps Rangers fans should be thanking the Orioles.
1. Boston Red Sox (9-9) – Last season, Red Sox writers blamed the Orioles for giving Red Sox fans inflated hopes. In short, the thinking was the O’s were so bad that fans mistakenly took to thinking the Red Sox were good for beating them so frequently. It was a bit of a stretch.
This year, Red Sox fans have a legitimate gripe with the Birds. Hampered much of the season by injuries, the Red Sox had enough fight left in them to win 89 games and a record good enough for third place in the A.L. East and second place in the other American League divisions. Nevertheless, the season ended early in Boston this year leaving plenty of time to discuss woulda-coulda-shoulda scenarios.
The Orioles beat the Red Sox as often as the Yankees did in 2010. Included among the Orioles’ victories was an 11th inning walk-off win in Baltimore (Don’t you just love Hideki Okajima?); a 10th-inning victory at Fenway; and an unlikely, late-April sweep of the Red Sox at Camden Yards featuring a Ty Wiggington walk-off double against Jonathan Papelbon.
The Orioles entered the latter series with a 4-18 record while Boston was riding high – and looked to be turning a corner – after sweeping Toronto on the road. Instead, Baltimore surprised fans in both cities with a sweep of its own. Incredibly, the Red Sox won seven of 10 games in a stretch where the team’s only losses came against the Orioles.