Orioles Stake Their Claim as AL Powerhouse vs. Astros
As the MLB season comes to a close, the dynamics of the American League are becoming increasingly apparent. If the curtain were to drop today, the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros would be sitting comfortably at the pinnacle, with the former claiming the top spot. The Orioles, often overshadowed by the championship pedigree of the Astros, are serving up a reminder that they, too, can pack a punch in the AL.
Yesterday was a testament to Baltimore’s ambition, as they clinched both opening games against the Astros. Notably, their 9-5 victory was achieved even as they started as the underdogs, sending a strong signal across the league that the Orioles are not here to participate but to compete and change narratives in 2023.
All jest aside, discussions surrounding these two juggernauts have sparked playful banters amongst fans. Comments on wanting to see trash cans, particularly loud aluminum ones, in the dugout have been circulating. Some even jokingly suggest that Jose Altuve should have a pencil attached to alert of fastballs. As humorous as these remarks might be, they also signify the fierce competition and stakes at play between these teams.
While this writer does not have an inherent preference for the Astros, betting on their potential to claim both the American League and the World Series indicates a belief in their prowess. Yet, concerns are mounting as they seem to be losing their grip with every passing day. A glimpse at the current standings paints a precarious picture for Houston. Despite occupying the top spot, they are closely tailed by the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners, both just a half-game behind.
What makes the Astros’ position even more fragile is the recent form of their closest competitors. Despite being four and six in their last ten games, the Mariners mirror the Astros’ performance. One cannot help but wonder: had the Astros capitalized against supposedly easier opposition, would we even be having this conversation?
Many fans might be looking ahead to October baseball. For the Astros, the immediate challenge lies today, on September 20. Given the circumstances and their recent slip-ups, today’s face-off against the Orioles is shaping up to be nothing short of a must-win.
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