Who's afraid of the big, bad Orioles?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Sam Galanis
Contributing Writer

In the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles for years were like the annoying little brother that nobody let play with them. But now they’re playing with the big boys, and they’re doing much better than them. They’ve slipped under everybody’s radar and gone from sitting in the AL East basement to hanging out on top.

The Orioles are a great young team. It’s as though one year they just grew into being a legitimate threat. Actually, most of their starting lineup is under 30 years old, which is a huge advantage for them. That usually means less major injuries and more stamina.

All of the Red Sox fans who haven’t been able to fully block the end of the 2011 season out of their heads know what the Orioles are capable of. Except now they have gone from keeping AL East teams out of the playoffs to being playoff contenders themselves. That’s a scary thought for all of the other teams. For years the AL East has been one of the toughest, if not the toughest, leagues in Major League Baseball. Adding another possible contender to the list makes it that much harder for everyone else. And what’s more, the Orioles recently have done very well against AL East teams specifically.

Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Chris Davis, Nick Markakis, the list goes on. They have a solid lineup, and even though their pitching isn’t the best in the division, they can still hold their own. Not to mention, they have one of the best closers in Jim Johnson. And we can’t forget Buck Showalter, who has proved to be a great asset in the clubhouse.

So it's clear this season will come down to the wire in the AL East. The Red Sox, Orioles, and even the Yankees have shown they can take the top spot. The Jays and the Rays still have time to get in the race as well. One thing for sure is that September will be interesting in the AL East.

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