Rays 8, Orioles 2: Will we ever leave the desert?

Here's your one piece of good news from today's 8-2 loss at the hands of the Rays: Orioles batters took ten walks. That includes two by no other than Vladimir Guerrero, who now has four walks after going 115 plate appearances before getting his first.

Here's your bad news: everything else. Today was the kind of game where you might despair of the Orioles ever being a good baseball team again. Jeremy Guthrie only went five innings, giving up seven runs on ten hits, with a three-run home run by each of Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton, whose blast was a monster shot to the opposite field. Guts gave up a run in the first inning after Longoria doubled in Ben Zobrist, and because it was Guts pitching, you just knew the game was a lost cause from then on. Unfortunately, today was one of those days where Guthrie didn't exactly help himself out much.

Orioles hitters managed just 1-12 with runners in scoring position, including failing to score a run with the bases loaded and only one out in the bottom of the 2nd inning when the game was still just 1-0. No one could get a hit when it mattered. In an ordinary season with an ordinary team, there are games like that. The problem with the Orioles right now is it feels like every game is like that. In spite of those ten walks, O's batters only recorded five hits, and three of these were Nick Markakis. At least Nick is finally showing some signs of life at the plate, hitting 10-for-30 since May 1. He's raised his batting average by 30 points in that time. That still leaves him at .234/.291/.328 on the season. It'll be a long climb, but maybe he's finally on it.

Even the one thing that looked like it might be a positive was taken from us. Matt Wieters hit a deep drive to left field in the bottom of the 8th inning that would have been his fifth home run of the season, except the Rays' Sam Fuld made the perfect leap to grab the ball that would have landed in the front row. Video replays showed it was definitely going out if not for the catch. A two-run homer there would have at least been something to hang our hats on. But no. We are denied even that.

And so we Orioles fans continue our wandering through the desert, clinging always to the faint hope of an oasis just over the horizon, trying futilely to will into existence the cool water to slake our decade-plus thirst when we know full well that should we ever manage to lay our eyes on that promised land, as we drop to our knees to immerse ourselves in its glory, all we will truly find is scorching sand and a dream dashed once again by the cruelest of mirages.

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