It’s time to face the reality that the Orioles are going to be a losing team in 2017. This has been an uncomfortable thing that I have tried hard not to think about for a while now. It’s not fun for the Orioles to be losers. Of course, it hasn’t happened since the arrival of Dan Duquette prior to the 2012 season.
The memory of the 14 consecutive losing seasons is still fresh. No one could have known back in 1998 that the franchise was heading into a decade of darkness. The best way to avoid another 14 seasons of bad baseball is to not even have one. The O’s pulled off the miracle to fight that off in 2015. Only an 8-2 finish will save them now. It isn’t happening.
Will the Orioles be able to fix this offseason what has sent this year careening into loser territory? That is the big question that will be preoccupying Orioles fans until next year’s games get started. The MLB-worst starting rotation will have a lot of turnover, which is good, and the Orioles will have some payroll flexibility, presumably, to add players, which is also good. But is the market there for them to take advantage of that?
With ten games to play, the Orioles “tragic number” - the combination of O’s losses and Twins wins that will eliminate them - sits at six. They could be mathematically eliminated as early as Friday. That’s not much fun. Neither is knowing that if the season ended right now, the Orioles would pick at #13 in next year’s draft. At least there’s no more lost first round picks for signing free agents.
In a lot of ways, the success in three of the past five seasons has let us forget somewhat just how brutal a bad baseball team can be. Things are brutal for the O’s right now. When they can hit, they can’t pitch, and when they can pitch, they can’t hit.
Last night’s loss was pathetic. Watching this team has ceased being fun. The end of the season will be welcome if only to free us from any obligation we might feel to keep watching these dopes.
Around the blogO’sphere
Orioles' Dylan Bundy to make remaining starts | MLB.com
For most of the year, it’s seemed like the only people who aren’t worried about Dylan Bundy’s innings are Orioles decision makers. That appears to still be the case.
Notes on Bundy, Miley, bullpen and young players - School of Roch
Buck Showalter would rather the Orioles win 82 games than 79 games, which is to say that he sees fighting for .500 as something worth doing. He’s not wrong, but still, I hope he keeps giving young guys a chance.
O's fall again in extra innings to Boston (with quotes) - Steve Melewski
If you want to know what Caleb Joseph and Kevin Gausman had to say about that sad loss last night, here’s the place to go.
Center fielder Adam Jones had X-ray on hand after hit-by-pitch, ‘looks fine’ (Baltimore Sun)
The X-ray was only precautionary and everything is OK. It would suck if somebody got hurt in one of these meaningless games as the season limps to its conclusion.
As Orioles reach uncharted territory with Miguel Castro, results haven’t been the same (Baltimore Sun)
Something that the “Put Castro in the rotation!” crowd should keep in mind: He’s thrown 60.2 innings and seems to be getting tired.
Orioles’ final 11 games could define them for 2018 (Press Box)
If this is the case, then based on last night, we’re all screwed.
Birthdays and anniversaries
In 1958, knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm spun a no-hitter against the Yankees, the last time in the 20th century that the Yankees were no-hit. Gus Triandos, the favorite player of The Wire’s Herc, hit a home run to give the Orioles a 1-0 victory.
In 1998, Cal Ripken Jr. brought an end to The Streak, sitting out a loss to the Yankees. He had played every game consecutively since May 30, 1982. You don’t need me to tell you The Streak was 2,632 games, but I’m just mentioning it for the sake of completion.
There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: Columbia’s own Steve Lombardozzi, 1990 reserve Dave Gallagher, and 1972 reliever Roric Harrison.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: Union general John Reynolds (1820), The Jungle writer Upton Sinclair (1878), author and more lately non-author George R.R. Martin (1948), and American Idol winner Philip Phillips (1990).
On this day in history...
In 1378, Robert of Geneva was elected pope in Avignon despite there already being a reigning pope in Rome, setting off a four decade-long Western Schism.
In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan and his ships set sail from Sanlucar de Barrameda, officially beginning the expedition that would, by its conclusion, mark the first circumnavigation of the globe - though Magellan himself did not survive the journey.
In 1792, the French revolutionaries threw back an invading force of Prussians in the Battle of Valmy. After proving their mettle with this victory, the revolutionaries proclaimed the end of the monarchy and the creation of the First French Republic.
In 1870, the unification of Italy was completed when an Italian army captured Rome, ending any temporal power of the popes.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 20 - or at least, until something happens later, because there is, after all, still the series finale against the Red Sox to be played tonight.