As we enter the stretch run of the online sportsbook MLB season, team’s that at first glance seemed like a surprise needing a reality check, have held on to potential playoff spots. To start the season, the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh started off strong, and have yet to reach their cooling period. Then midway through the first half of the season, the Oakland Athletics turned their season around, and joined Baltimore and Pittsburgh as the biggest surprises of the season. With roughly nine weeks left in the season, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Oakland all are set to return to the playoffs.
Going into the 2012 MLB sports betting online season if we had told you that by early August, the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics would still be in contention for a playoff spot, you would have laughed at us. For the better part of the last decade, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Oakland have been the three worst teams in baseball. For this reason, it’s incredibly hard to imagine, that their pitching staff’s has led all three teams this season into a playoff position. As of this writing, Baltimore is two games out of the second wild card spot in the American League, while Oakland and Pittsburgh are each leading the wild card races.
The most surprising of the three teams is Baltimore, as they had been just terrible since their last playoff appearance 14 years ago. You could argue that Baltimore has fallen off the most of the three teams, as they are hovering around 500, but that still appears to be enough to lock down second place in the ever daunting American League East. In fact, Baltimore has only been in third place for a week, during this online bookie season. Meaning to say, if the Orioles can add a little bit more help prior to the waiver deadline, they may be able to reach the post season.
However, of the three surprising teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates seem the closest to breaking a playoff curse. Pittsburgh hasn’t made the playoffs since 1992, and has had 19 consecutive losing seasons. Early in April, Pittsburgh experienced a losing streak that many cynical writers assumed was Pittsburgh flopping again. Yet, rather then listen to the critics, the Pirates became one of the hottest teams in baseball, accumulating a record of 51-34. Pittsburgh surprisingly has been carried by their offense, despite getting little to no production from either corner outfield position. As a result of this issue, the Pirates traded former prized pitching prospect Brad Lincoln one for one, with misused outfielder Travis Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays. With Snider playing full time, the Pirates now have the balance in the line up needed to reach the 5Dimes playoffs.
While Pittsburgh and Baltimore have been carried this season by decent pitching and strong hitting, the Oakland Athletics have taken the opposite path to glory. For the majority of the season, the Athletics offense has ranked in the bottom three in the entire MLB. Regardless, the Athletics lead the league in walk off wins with 13 this season. What’s more? The Athletics pitching staff is the best in the American League and third in the MLB. After losing 16 of 27 in May, the Athletics bounced back in June and have been the best team since. Comparable to Baltimore, if Oakland can acquire another bat before the waiver deadline, they should have the best odds to qualify for the playoffs.