Best division in baseball? No losing records will do that
Take a look at the standings. Right there, up top. Do you see it?
Every team in the AL East has at least a .500 record. With the Orioles’ win on Tuesday at the Cubs, the club completed the quintet.
How rare is this? Glad you asked.
This is the 4th time in the Wild Card Era (excluding 2020) that a division has had all of its teams at or above .500 on July 12 or later (records at end of day), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It also happened in the 2012 AL East, 2005 NL East and 2000 AL West, on several days under the qualifiers for each season.
In 2005, the entire NL East actually finished at or above .500: Braves (90-72), Phillies (88-74), Marlins (83-79), Mets (83-79) and Nationals (81-81).
The aforementioned Orioles’ path to seal this group of .500 teams was no small feat, either. They’ve now won nine in a row, their longest winning streak in a single season since a 13-game streak in 1999.
But it isn’t just any nine-game win streak. It’s one by a team that went 52-110 last season -- the worst record in MLB.
They’re the second team in MLB history to lose 110 or more games in a season and then have a nine-or-more-game winning streak in the next, according to STATS. They join the Louisville Colonels, who went 27-111 in 1889, then had winning streaks of 12, 11 and 10 games in 1890.
They’re also the fourth team since 1900 to win at least nine straight games the season after finishing with the worst record in MLB, according to Elias, joining the 2001 Cubs, 1993 Dodgers and 1902 Browns.
What comes next
If the O’s find their way above .500, it would be the third time every team in a division was above that mark on July 13 or later in the Wild Card Era, per Elias.
The AL East in 2012 was all over .500 for one day on July 13 or later that season: July 15.
Aside from that single day, the only other time every team in a division was over .500 on July 13 or later in the Wild Card Era was the aforementioned ‘05 NL East, on multiple days.