There are many Blue Jays fans out there who complain about the AL East. They complain that it’s unfair that we have to battle the best young team in the game AND the two highest payrolls in the game. There is no chance the Jays can ever make the playoffs in this division, they say. Waah, waah, waah.
To some degree they have a point. But this column isn’t about that. This column is about the one good thing that comes with residing in the AL East:
The Baltimore Orioles.
As the title of this posting suggests, the Baltimore Orioles are absolutely, positively horrendous.
This hasn’t always been the case in Baltimore. They used to be a good team. The Orioles moved to Baltimore from St. Louis (where they were the Browns) in 1954. They won the World Series in 1966, 1970, and 1983. They lost in the World Series in 1969, 1971, and 1979. They made the playoffs in 1973, 1974, and even as recent as 1996 and 1997. But it’s been all downhill from there.
From 1998 until yesterday, Baltimore has compiled a record of 886-1155 (.434 winning percentage). They have allowed 1,080 more runs than they have scored. They have gone through six different managers. And they have finished dead last in the AL East for two consecutive seasons.
With a 31-68 record this year, it is about to be three straight years in the basement.
Which brings us back to 2010. After a 9-5 win last night, the Blue Jays are a perfect 10-0 against the Orioles this season. But what makes it even more impressive is the fact that Toronto isn’t just beating Baltimore. They are thumping them. Badly.
To quote a tweet from Jays beat writer @MLBastian, in the 10 wins this year Toronto has outscored Baltimore 57 – 21, out homered them 21 – 4, and out extra-base hit them 52 – 16. The pitchers have an ERA of 1.90. This isn’t merely a beating – this is complete and utter domination.
With eight games remaining on the schedule Toronto has a very realistic chance to set a franchise record for wins against one opponent in a season. That current record is 15 against….you guessed it….the Baltimore Orioles. Toronto went 15 – 4 against them in 2002, and outscored them by a margin of 107 – 67.
If that sounds impressive consider this: at the current rate, Toronto is on pace to outscore the Orioles this year by a count of 102 – 37. That is 25 runs better than in 2002 – in one fewer game.
In fact, three of Toronto’s six best individual season records have come at the expense of the Orioles:
15-4: 2002 vs. Baltimore
12-1: 1987 vs. Baltimore, 1991 vs. Cleveland
11-1: 1999 vs. Baltimore, 1984 vs. Minnesota, 1989 vs. Chicago White Sox
So take heart Blue Jays fans. Though we won’t make the playoffs this year, and we might not next year, it is always good to know that we can pick on somebody.
Or has Jose Bautista said after yesterday’s game: “It’s nice to be able to beat somebody every time we play them.”
Indeed it is.