It's important to admit off the top that, even with their surprising 7-7 start to the truncated 2020 season and the expanded MLB postseason, the Orioles are still not likely to be playing in October. The roster is just missing too much in terms of both top-end talent and depth.
Having gotten that out of the way, their path to a postseason spot - or even a division title? - may have just opened up a bit.
Giancarlo Stanton has a grade 1 hamstring strain, the least serious. Normal estimate is 3-4 weeks for such an injury.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 11, 2020
Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most feared sluggers in baseball when healthy. Of course, that's a key distinction for a player who has only played at least 120 games in a season twice since 2014. The hulking outfielder will now miss a month for the AL East-leading Yankees, which would be bad enough under normal circumstances. In 2020, one month is half the season.
The Yankees are still expected to make the postseason - FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference both give them roughly a two-thirds chance to win the division - but losing one of their best players is sure to be magnified in a shortened season. Stanton had a wRC+ of 189 through 14 games - for reference, league average is just 100.
The O's are still more likely to miss the playoffs than not - FanGraphs currently gives them a 6.4% chance to make it, which is still much higher than it was before the season - but their path just became a little easier.
It's been a Cinderella run for the Orioles so far. Can it continue? Perhaps not, but Stanton's injury helps, even if only just a little.
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