After winning on Friday, the Orioles are in sole possession of a wild card spot. Aug 12, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Brett Phillips (66) celebrates after the Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Phillips was recently traded from the Rays to the Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Friday, the Baltimore Orioles were one-half game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the final Wild Card spot. Friday also marked the first of a three-game series in Tampa between the Orioles and Rays. So, if Baltimore could win, it would be in playoff position. That’s exactly what happened.

The Orioles routed Tampa. Baltimore scored a run in the first two innings, then added one in the fifth and four in the sixth to go up 7-0. When the game ended, the Orioles were on the right side of a 10-3 final score and sat a half-game ahead of the Rays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

It can’t be stated how surprising this is. Heading into 2022, the Orioles had an average record of 51-111 over the last three full MLB seasons (and were 25-35 in 2020). Baltimore was also 35-44 on July 2. So, while that’s not quite as bad as what the recent past had offered, there was nothing to suggest that the Orioles could become a postseason contender in 2022.

But Baltimore followed that with a 10-game winning streak and has continued to play well in the aftermath, even after trading one of its best players.

Naturally, the MLB world had a lot to say about the dramatic turnaround.

There’s a lot of baseball left to be played and anything can happen. But this late in the year, the Orioles are absolutely a legitimate playoff contender. And for the fans in Baltimore — who have had to watch some terrible baseball over the last four years — there’s good reason to be excited.

About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. He is Bay Area native living in the Indianapolis area. Michael is also a big nerd when it comes to sports history and to a slightly lesser extent, all history. Beyond that, loves tacos, pizza and random Seinfeld quotes.

Feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements. If you do so respectfully, Michael will gladly respond in kind.

Twitter: @mfdixon1985 (mostly personal but a lot of sports)/@mdixonsports (All work/sports related)