Their 67-57 record through Wednesday has been attained despite a -54 run differential — a number that suggests a reversal of that record.
By comparison, through Wednesday, the Yankees (72-52) were +97, the Rangers (72-51) were +96, the White Sox (68-55) were +72 and the Rays (69-55) were +70.
And the other AL teams with negative run differentials were exactly who you'd expect them to be: The Blue Jays (56-67) at -28, the Royals (55-68) at -48, the Twins (51-72) at -93 and Indians (54-70) at -131.
Yes, teams have won division titles with negative run differentials — the last two being the 2007 Diamondbacks (90-72 despite a -20 run differential) and 2005 Padres (82-80 despite a -42 run differential). But these kinds of skewed results just don't happen very often.
The O's haven't lost in 50 games when leading after seven innings, and they have eight-inning man Pedro Strop and closer Jim Johnson to thank for that. But four other relievers — Luis Ayala, Troy Patton, Darren O'Day and Matt Lindstrom — all have sub-3.00 ERAs, as well.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
It's been that kind of season for the Orioles.
Instead, Jason Hammel started fast before being lost to injury, leaving unheralded Wei-Yin Chen, a free-agent signee from Taiwan, as the staff leader in starts, innings, wins and strikeouts.
Ten starting pitchers already have been used, including surprisingly effective Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.66), a 28-year-old rookie who has bounced around four organizations since 2004.
For four games this week, Showalter's No. 3 hitter was McLouth, who was cut by the Pirates this spring, spent much of this season in the minors, and prior to this week, hadn't hit a big-league homer since 2010.
McLouth is one of 12 players with at least one game in left field. Showalter also has used four catchers, six first basemen, five second basemen, five shortstops, four center-fielders, six right-fielders and 14 designated hitters.
Yet with six weeks left in the regular season, the O's are right in the midst of the AL wild-card fight, and they're sending out playoff ticket invoices to fans for the first time since 1997, just in case.
Wishful thinking? Perhaps. If you want to believe all this good fortune will catch up with them, go ahead. It's what most everybody has been expecting for weeks. But barring a late collapse, the O's will have their first winning season in 15, and wild card spot or not, that's a successful season in Baltimore.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.