How does a team manage to lose five games in a row in a particularly make-or-break stretch of a dwindling season? Very carefully, it seems, and in the Orioles' case, only after roping us in by starting out a homestand 5-1 before sliding into this tailspin, all the way back to .500, and, if they lose again tonight in the Kansas City den of horrors, below .500.
They're not only losing but they're losing in such a demoralizing fashion. Well, you know. You're watching too. The revolving door of outfield DFA's hasn't helped. The absence of surprisingly-decent Steve Clevenger for a few days as he hits the paternity list isn't likely to help. Isn't that the biggest sign of something going wrong with this season? There's a reason to regret the absence of Clevenger. No slight intended to Baltimore's own, mind you.
At this present moment, the Orioles' elimination number for the second wild card spot is 37. They have 38 games left to play. That means that the combination of Orioles losses and Rangers wins for the rest of the season must be less than 37, or the O's will eventually be eliminated. At some point they will also need to get back ahead of the Angels and Twins. It's not impossible until the mathematical elimination day arrives, but if the Orioles pull off what sounds like a very good 25-13 stretch, they'd still only get to 87 wins and they'd probably have to hope someone else stumbles.
Well, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right? In this case, the journey of 38 games begins with a single win. Or at least that's the dream. They only play one game today, so all they can do is win this game and worry about tomorrow when it gets here. Which they also need to win, because like I said, you're probably talking 25-13 just to entertain the possibility.