- Paul Swydan, ESPN Insider
The Baltimore Orioles have been on quite the roll this season. Since being swept by the New York Yankees in the season's second series, the O's have rattled off a 24-12 record and, as a result, have seen their rank in the ESPN Power Rankings rise dramatically. They began the season ranked 28th and have moved up steadily -- no more than eight spots in any one week -- to rank second this week.
But while the Orioles have been a great story and have easily exceeded the modest expectations laid out for them at the outset of the season, they simply aren't this good.
One of the main reasons we can expect the Orioles to fade back is their record in one-run games. Right now, the O's are 8-3 in such games, which is good for the third-best mark in the game. If that .727 winning percentage in one-run affairs held, it would tie the 1970 Orioles for the third-best mark since 1901. You might remember that team -- it had three aces in Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar -- and went on to win the World Series in five games. And while Baltimore has had better-than-expected pitching this season, it's not good enough to maintain that pace in one-run games.
The Orioles have been a great story in the first quarter of the season, but that doesn't mean this tale is nonfiction. As Paul Swydan of FanGraphs writes, Baltimore's offense is for real, but its pitching isn't good enough for it to keep this pace.