1. Chris Tillman becomes the O’s first 20 game winner since 1984- Entering the All Star break, Chris Tillman has 12 wins, meaning he needs just 8 more. There are 75 games left in the Orioles’ season, which means Chris Tillman should get roughly 15 more starts. A win every other start is not too much to ask from your “ace.”
2. The Orioles do not make a splash at the trade deadline- There are too many teams who need quality starting pitching, and the O’s don’t have quality farm players to give in return, especially on a competitive market. The Red Sox had to give their top pitching prospect in their organization for Drew Pomeranz, and I don’t think the O’s will make a move like that. I can see them bringing in someone of a much lesser caliper to compete for starting innings though, but no big name guys.
3. Manny Machado wins AL MVP- Machado finished fourth in the MVP voting last year, and this year he has been even better. Posting a first half average of .318, with 19 homers and 53 RBI, as well as being for my money the best defensive player in all of baseball, Machado has meant more to the Orioles than any other player has meant to his team in the AL.
4. The Orioles finish the season leading the major leagues in home runs- The Orioles entered the All Star break with 137 home runs, which is five ahead of Seattle for the league lead, despite playing only 87 games (some teams have played up to 91 games). The major league record for homers in a season is 264. The O’s have averaged 1.57 homers per game, and with 75 games left, they’re on pace to hit 118 more homers, giving them a yearly total of 255. This would put them 9 short of the all time major league record. It’s possible, but unlikely that they’ll set this record, but it is very likely they will have the most team homers in 2016.
5. The Orioles need 95 wins to win the AL East- Right now the Orioles have control of the division, but it could be a toss up between the O’s, Red Sox, and Blue Jays for who comes out on top. The addition of Drew Pomeranz will vastly help the Red Sox, but let’s be clear, although that was a great addition, it’s hardly one as impactful as David Price on the Blue Jays last year. Pomeranz is probably a number two or three starter on a good staff. But one thing’s for sure, the Red Sox look like they will be in it until the end, as do the Jays. The Orioles need 44 wins to get to 95, which would mean they need would need to go 44-31 from here on out, or 13 games over .500. This is a tall order, but if they’re worthy of a division crown, they’ll need to get to that mark.