Monday, April 26, 2010

What to look for in a lost season?

Even though the Orioles were never playoff contenders when the 2010 season began, many fans still hoped for an unexpected run reminiscent of the 2008 Rays, who went to the World Series that year.

It was as unlikely as it was unfair of fans to hold the Orioles to those best-case-scenario expectations.

And while a dismal 3-16 start has all but erased even the most level-headed fans' hopes, there can still be something to be gained from the 2010 season in Baltimore.

Call it temporary optimism after an Orioles win. Call it whatever you want.

At the beginning of the season, I'd hoped that the Orioles would crack .500. And I literally meant "crack". I thought an 82 win season (.502) was not out of the question. But then 3-16 happened and I was forced to re-evaluate my prediction. After all, in order for the O's to win 82 games, they would have to go 79-64 for the remainder of the season. That's .556 baseball over a 143 game stretch, folks. It is simply not going to happen in Baltimore this year.

But, I still think the Orioles can improve upon last season. You know, the one where they won only 64 games and a 4-game winning streak to end the season allowed them to avoid the first 100-loss season since 1988.

After a 3-16 start, I am doubting whether the Orioles can even improve upon 64 wins. The bullpen is still a disaster (thanks in part to Dave Trembley's mis-management) and up until the last 2 games, the Orioles offense was non-existent. But at least now the offense is showing signs of life. And since the starting pitching has been solid, I don't think it is out of the question to still hope that the Orioles can actually improve upon last year.

So I am setting the bar at 10 games. I want the Orioles to win 10 more games in 2010 than they did in 2009. That would be a pretty big step in the right direction for an organization that has continually lost more games than it has the year before since 2004.

I don't care who the manager is. I don't care who the GM is. I don't care what players do well and what players do poorly. I just want to see the Orioles' record start heading in the right direction.

And to accomplish that "feat", I am not asking for too much. The Orioles would have to go 71-72 for the remainder of the season to win 74 games. That's .496 baseball. Nothing great by any means, but compared to the kind of play we've seen out of the Orioles for the last 100 games dating back to last year, it would feel like 1997 all over again if the Orioles were able to play .496 ball for the rest of the season.

So basically, if the O's were an thirteen year old student with bad grades, I would be asking him to improve upon his F to start the school year by getting a D+ for the rest of the year.

That's not too much to ask, is it?

Then why do I still feel like it is?

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