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Q: Where the hell did our offense go?

A: Nowhere, really.

I said at the start of the year that I thought the Oriole lineup was being greatly overrated. Unfortunately, they have proven me right. And I am not bragging about my great forecasting abilities, either; I would much rather have been wrong. But being unbiased, it was easy to see the holes.

Non-Problems: Roberts, Tejada, Mora and (surprisingly) Palmeiro

Problems: Every freaking one else, more or less

So we've got an infield that can hit, and an outfield that can't, not to mention non-impact hitters at catcher and a hole of a DH that is just whichever of Sosa or Gibbons gets to not play the field that day.

The Orioles were fourth in the division in runs scored coming into the 6-2 loss to the Devil Rays, completing an embarrassing sweep at Tropicana Field as the team heads back home. Javy Lopez will return, but his impact will likely be only that he gives us someone to put into the five-hole that might not be an automatic out.

O's since the All-Star break:

W, 5-3
W, 6-3
L, 2-3
L, 2-8
W, 3-2
L, 3-4
L, 2-3
L, 5-7
L, 2-3
L, 2-6

You aren't going to win games that-a-way.

We have to place our hopes on Javy Lopez, recovering from a badly injured hand, and the potential arrival of Phil Nevin, who may be able to use the change of scenery to get some life back in his bat. If so, then there's six hitters in the lineup - well, assuming the guys that we have had hitting don't start to falter, and to be honest, it doesn't sound good to me to assume Palmeiro keeps hitting like he has of late.

We could use a pitcher that isn't Sidney Ponson, but we need bats in place of Sosa, Gibbons, Bigbie, Matos and/or Surhoff. There is no immediate help within our system, unless we could get a hot two months out of Walter Young in place of Gibbons or something. But who knows?

Nevin might be a help, and that's assuming he allows the trade to pass, which isn't impossible but doesn't seem terribly likely.

But, I'm rambling. I don't even know what my point is. This was a sorry road trip that ended about as sorrily as possible.

And coming up? The Rangers, who can hit if nothing else, and the White Sox. Eight games in eight days at home, and how we fare in these eight games, as we're now just three games over .500, could do so much as seal our fate for this season. And no, I don't think that's exaggerating, because after that, we head to Anaheim and Texas for six more games, and the O's have been atrocious on the road after a fast start away from Baltimore this season.

If we're going to make a serious run, moves are needed. Things have to be shaken up. People might have to just plain old hit the road.

But, again, I'm rambling about nothing. I have no solutions other than we need reinforcements in a bad way. How, and if, we get them is another story.