I've said this before, and I'll say it again, I'm sure. It's one thing to come into this season with low expectations, and knowing the team is going to compete for Worst Team in Baseball, and knowing how rocky and downright bad it's going to be, but it's another thing to actually sit and watch it happen.
The O's came out for 2008 with another surprisingly fast start, ending April in contention. We're a week into May, 16-16, and now we're in fourth place. And brothers and sisters, it's only going to get worse.
We're a half-game up on Toronto, and the Jays are riding a five-game win streak. It's only a matter of time before we get settled in the cellar.
I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic. Think about some of the guys starting for this team. Luis Hernandez and his .542 OPS, weak arm, and frequent boneheaded baserunning mistakes. Ramon Hernandez and his .581 OPS, detrimental alleged defense behind the plate, and frequent boneheaded baserunning mistakes. Luke Scott (.778 and nosediving) and Jay Payton (.642 and steady) are in a left field platoon.
Our starting first baseman is OPSing .672. Nick Markakis is in a massive slump right now. Our number three hitter is Melvin Mora -- .729 OPS.
This offense is offensive.
And it kind of makes you feel bad for a starting pitching crew that is performing a lot better than most would have expected. Jeremy Guthrie (4.06/1.24) is doing his thing again. Daniel Cabrera (4.06/1.35) seems to have found a balance between power pitching and trusting his stuff enough to let people try to hit it. Brian Burres (2.87/1.28) has been terrific. Garrett Olson (2.08/1.08) has been great in two starts since being called up. Steve Trachsel is a waste of time, so let's not even bother talking about him right now.
The bullpen has been a little inconsistent, but they've held their own for the most part. There's not much more you could ask of this pitching staff than what they've given us, to be totally fair.
And then there's the boneheaded baserunning and fielding and other assorted screwery. It's hard to watch a team make so many fundamental little mistakes that wind up costing them games. The A's had no business winning last night. They shouldn't have scored a run.
But then the Orioles shouldn't be making two outs on every hit-and-run they attempt and gloriously fail to execute. The Orioles shouldn't run into so many outs. But Dave has them running, despite their constant presentation of evidence that they don't know how to run the bases. Roberts is a fantastic baserunner. Markakis is a really good, savvy baserunner, last night's boner notwithstanding. But guys like Luis and Adam Jones, while they have speed, aren't good baserunners. It's one of the few times I'll go out of my way to praise Derek Jeter, but that guy is a magnificent baserunner. It's not just speed, and we all know that. Markakis isn't terribly fast, but, like Jeter, he has good instincts and rarely screws himself over.
And it's not just on the bases. It's in the field, too. Melvin Mora, God bless him, makes more idiotic mistakes than anyone I can think of. He also makes a lot of highlight reel plays. His tendency to look to get a glory out and wind up getting nobody out is a little high. Luis Hernandez? I can't really blame him. He's not really a Major League shortstop. He does not have the arm for the position.
I'm not mad about them being bad, and I'm not upset about it, and it doesn't depress me or anything. But it's hard to watch a team so bad on so many levels. They try hard, there's a lot of moxy, and there's plenty of grit. They've got some gamers. That's super.
They stink, though. We all knew they would.
(And Aubrey Huff has been fine.)