In a 60-game baseball season, even some of the most improbable possibilities become a little less improbable. One early development of the shortened 2020 campaign has been the Orioles jumping out to a 5-3 start following a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend.
It would be understandable not to board the hype train and anoint them playoff contenders just yet, but ESPN showed in its first power rankings since the start of the season that it isn't buying Baltimore's early success. ESPN ranked the Orioles 30th, the same spot it had them before the start of the season.
"Hey, the Orioles are two games over .500! After that 13-2 Opening Day loss, it seemed like they might go 10-50 -- or something worse that only Stephen King could conjure up," columnist David Schoenfield wrote. "That might sound wild, but the Orioles had a 14-46 stretch last season (not the worst in the majors, as the Tigers had a 12-48 stretch).
"Anyway, the O's have scored some runs, Alex Cobb has had a couple of solid outings, and this team just swept the Rays. In other words, the Orioles probably deserve to be higher than No. 30 ... for now."
Schoenfield alluded that the Orioles would move up the rankings if they continued playing like they have, but for now Baltimore stays at the bottom just behind the Miami Marlins-who have only played three games-and the 2-8 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Entering play Tuesday, the Orioles sit two and half games behind the New York Yankees with 52 games to go. Though they'll continue to need All-Star-esque performances out of unlikely candidates like Hanser Alberto (15 hits in eight games) and Alex Cobb (2.89 ERA over two starts), anything can happen in a 60-game season.
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