Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is it just me?

Or has this been one big slog of a season thus far?

Sure, it's better than last year's Orioles team, which was 20-52 after 72 games, and there's been a decent amount of winning streaks this year, but they've promptly been erased by equally as long -- or longer -- losing streaks.

This year's team is just so...boring.

And it's making it hard to care about this team.

Usually, I'd be at code red levels of irate right now, especially after the O's lost 5-4 to the Pirates to lose the series in Pittsburgh, and fall to 33-39, 10.5 games out of first, but I have a hard time mustering that anger. I mean, it's been 14 years, people. After 14 years I'm willing to bet Andy Dufresne had a hard time getting all worked up about being falsely imprisoned at Shawshank.

Maybe it was the heart-breaking loss in Boston last month or the extra-innings loss at home to Tampa Bay a week ago -- games that I tuned into and watched from beginning to end. Why do I always happen to watch every pitch of the worst losses of the season? UGH!

OK, OK, you got me. I was at one time excited about this year's team. But then reality sunk in. Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee are two of the latest on a long list of great players to come to Baltimore and promptly forget how to play baseball. Kevin Gregg might as well stuff butter fried steaks with eggs on them down our throats because he's giving Orioles fans heart attacks each time he enters a game. And it's maddening to even think that the Orioles forfeited a draft pick to sign Michael Gonzalez, who is demonstrating that professional pitchers can -- and do -- forget how to throw a ball across home plate with regularity. Sorry, haters. Watching aging veterans flail away at the plate does not inspire interest. Been there, done that. It was called Baltimore, 1999.

OK, so Jake Arrieta is tied for the league lead with wins. Good job, Jake. (And Brian, you may win that bet after all. At least you have a good chance. It's probably the only thing that interests me about this team right now.) Zach Britton looks good, and I do believe he's going to have a good career, but his progress thus far has been erased by Brian Matusz' injury and struggles since coming back from the DL.

But it mostly comes down to the dumb style of play this team seems to fall into year after year. Wasn't Buck Showalter supposed to whip this team into shape the way he did last August and September? Or was that 34-23 record under Showalter last year one of the biggest flukes in the history of baseball? Watching this team give away outs and botch routine plays with little or no response from Showalter makes it seem so.

So there you have it. 2011 will be known as the "at least it wasn't as bad as 2010" season, but it's still just as frustrating in many ways.

No one expected them to make the playoffs. But they were supposed to be better than this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Remember that test I was talking about in the last entry?

They failed.

The Orioles won game 1 of a 3 game series with the Rays, putting them in position to get back to .500. But they lost the second game -- after battling back down 3-0 against David Price and scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th. But they gave that lead right back in the top of the 9th, thanks to thanks to a Felix Pie dropped flyball (it was a tough play to his credit) and another shaky Kevin Gregg outing that resulted in the blown save. The offense, as its prone to do in extra innings, disappeared.

What's happened since then? Take a guess.

The O's lost their next 3 in a row and they're currently on a 4 game losing streak. They've also lost 16 in a row in Toronto, who is going for a sweep of the Orioles today.

So we saw this coming. Still doesn't make it any easier to take, though.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Test lies ahead for O's in form of Rays

Well here we are again.

The Orioles just swept the A's -- for the first time since 1998 -- and have crawled back to a 29-31 record.

We know what's happened in the past. Whenever the Orioles have taken a few steps forward, they immediately took a few steps back. Especially when it came against better teams.

So the O's have beaten up on the lesser competition and choked against the AL's better team. The A's are in a tailspin. They just fired their manager and have the league's worst offense. But they were a team that routinely gave the Orioles fits, even when they were mediocre. So one can take some pride in sending them home licking their wounds.

And now here come the Tampa Bay Rays, 32-29, 3 games out of first place. To date, the Orioles have actually played well against them, sweeping the opening series in Tampa, then getting swept in Baltimore in early May before taking two of three from them back in Tampa for a 5-4 record.

But with the O's having just accomplished something in sweeping Oakland, and reaching spitting distance of .500, you have to wonder if the floor will give way again and the Orioles will erase the positive steps they have taken.

They've done it like this all season.

So a test awaits the Orioles this weekend. Let's hope they studied hard, had a good night's sleep and ate a healthy breakfast.

Because if the Orioles are ever going to make the 2011 season interesting -- in a good way -- now is their chance.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

O's continue erasing positives

The O's got back to the elusive .500 mark after sweeping the Royals in Baltimore last week, but whatever helped them get back to .500 didn't get packed for their west coast swing to Oakland and Seattle because the Orioles are 0-5 on their 6 game road trip thus far.

And so it continues. The predictable erasing of any positives the Orioles manage to gain.

Are the players and coaches satisfied by getting back to .500 (mediocrity) that they mentally take the next few games off? Maybe. And the offense has crawled back into it's suck shell. They've scored just 13 runs in their 5 losses.


I just got back from Portugal where I spent 9 days eating, drinking and sightseeing -- thinking about the Orioles very little.

And now with their 5-game losing streak, they've given me even less reason to think of them.