Exciting Orioles climb the AL East standings and odds

When the Tampa Bay Rays started the season 13-0 and maintained that hot streak for weeks, it seemed like the Rays winning the AL East was a wrap.

If any team was going to sue them, the Baltimore Orioles didn’t seem to be the one.

The AL East standings are a bit of a surprise if you haven’t looked at it in a while. After the Orioles won again on Monday, they are just four games behind the Rays. Baltimore is 48-29 as its young roster came together very quickly.

The ranking has changed, the odds too.

Rays still lead AL East odds

Tampa Bay is still, and deservedly, a heavy favorite in the AL East. They are -750 at BetMGM. The Rays don’t have many weaknesses, with a brilliant +150 plus/minus to prove it.

Still, it seems like -750 is a bit heavy for a team that’s only four games ahead with half a season to go.

Are Orioles good value for money? They are +900 to win the AL East. The New York Yankees, whose offense is struggling without an injured Aaron Judge, are 9.5 games behind the Rays. The rest of the division is 10 or more behind. We’re about halfway through the season — the Rays have played exactly 81 games — so there’s plenty of time for that to change. But it looks like if anyone is going to beat the Rays, it would be the Orioles.

And while the Rays seem like the better team, a +900 shot on the Orioles doesn’t seem like the worst bet.

Baltimore Orioles' Jorge Mateo (3) and teammate Anthony Santander (25) were part of the O's hot streak.  (AP Photo/Tommy Gilligan)

The Orioles are on the rise

It’s not like you can reject a 13-0 start to the season. But since then, the Rays are 41-27, .603 winning percentage. The Orioles are at .623 for the season, and it’s .646 since their lackluster 6-6 start to the season.

Those are prime stats, but the Orioles played very well. There’s a good reason they’re back in the AL East race.

Baltimore is led by its young offensive stars like receiver Adley Rutschman and infielder Gunnar Henderson, who has warmed up after a slow start to the season. The Orioles’ starting pitch isn’t great, but it’s been decent and the bullpen has been strong all season.

Of course, whatever the Orioles do well, the Rays do well too. They are quantifiably better than the Orioles. This is the reason the Rays are favored by a mile to win the division. And they will probably win the AL East.

But the Orioles’ surge has brought some intrigue to the divisional race. Maybe Baltimore can’t top the Rays, but at +900 odds, it might be worth finding out.

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