Well, that was quick. What a start to the 2010 season for your Baltimore Orioles. A 2-12 record, with that second win on Sunday stopping a nine game losing streak. In roughly a week the optimism emanating from Camden Yards was gone. The pitiful play, atrocious record, and what appears to be an indifferent attitude by some players has many fans in Baltimore looking towards Ravens season.
Sane Orioles fans were not predicting a playoff spot, following the 64-98 records last year, and only minor improvements through free agency and trades. This is still an organization that has not had a winning season since 1997, with handfuls of fourth and fifth place finishes. Adding to the arduous process of building a contender is that in my opinion the three best teams in the American League play in the Orioles’ division, including the World Series champions. However, most fans were excited about the core of young players, and were ready to take modest steps towards improvement.
It feels like August in Baltimore because the team resembles one that is finishing another losing season. Usually the Orioles play tolerably in the beginning, hang around 5-10 games beneath .500, and flame out in the final two months. An April nine-game losing skid seems misplaced. In each of the past five seasons the Orioles longest losing streaks have been in August or September:
—September, 2005: 9 game losing streak
—August, 2006: 5 game losing streak
—August, 2007: 9 game losing streak
—September, 2008: 10 game losing streak
—September, 2009: 13 game losing streak
Watching during the pathetic 0-6 homestand, the team already looked lifeless. When you play well enough to win only to have your new closer blow two saves in the first four games, it must have an impact. Instead of 3-1 the O’s were 1-3. Manager Dave Trembley deserves some of the blame. He has mismanaged the bullpen—in an 8-6 loss to Tampa Bay he pitched Matt Albers for the third consecutive game. Albers took the loss after Carlos Pena demolished a pitch into the stands for a home run. I’m unsure if he even knows how to fill out a lineup card. Miguel Tejada should not be hitting clean up at this point in his career. My biggest complaint about Trembley might be the goofy, perplexed look on his face. That stare that shows all Orioles fans he is out of ideas, and in over his head.
For those of you who still have some optimism, the good thing is it can’t get much worse. The blown saves will decrease, the 0-4 bullpen should pitch better, the Orioles will get on base more, and the horrendous RISP average will rise. Before Sunday’s game it was .153. That just sucks. I think the team may need internal changes in order to spark this team. Luckily it is still very early and goals can still be reached this year. If some of the young players can fulfill their potential and show leadership they should give Orioles fans something to cheer about this year. Maybe.