If you are a baseball fan, you have to be loving the American League East right now.
New York was rained out on Tuesday. But in Seattle, Baltimore beat the Mariners, 4-2, in a game that lasted 18 innings and nearly six hours. The Orioles won despite Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds going 0 for 21.
The Yankees (83-63) and the Orioles (84-64) are tied for first place in the division. The Rays (78-70) aren’t finished quite yet, but are on life support.
Some sub-plots to consider:
• The Orioles will play six of their remaining 14 games against the Red Sox starting with three at Fenway Park this weekend. The Red Sox would dearly love to pay the Orioles back for what happened last season.
• The Yankees end the season with three games against the Red Sox in the Bronx.
• Orioles manager Buck Showalter was fired by the Yankees in 1995, right before they went on their dynasty run under Joe Torre. Think he might take some satisfaction in beating one of his old teams?
• Dan Duquette, seemingly blacklisted from baseball after being fired by the Red Sox, has pushed every right button as the GM in Baltimore. What a career turnaround for him.
• The Orioles are an amazing 14-2 in extra innings and 27-8 in games decided by one run. That explains how they are 20 games over .500 despite being outscored by 12 runs this season.
By this point in the season, a team that has been outscored by 12 runs should be roughly 73-75 based on the usually trustworthy pythagorean winning percentage.
The Yankees, also 20 games over .500, have outscored their opponents by 97 runs. The Fighting Showalters are a great story.
The Red Sox will have a big influence in how this all plays out. For those Red Sox fans still paying attention (and we know you’re still out there), this should add a lot of entertainment value to the last few weeks.