Wednesday, July 28, 2010

O's hit rock bottom

It pains me to say this, though I really should have been feeling this way for a while considering how terrible the team has been for more than a decade now, but tonight I'm embarrassed to be an Orioles fan.

It's one thing to just be a bad team -- but don't worry, the O's have that covered. At 31-70, the O's have the worst record in the majors, and they've also been outscored by an MLB-leading 191 runs. And in the very tough American League East, the O's have a record of 10-35. Again, that's horrible.

But after a 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays tonight, the O's have dropped their fifth game in a row and twelfth straight against Toronto. That's right, the O's have lost twelve in a row to the fourth-best team in the AL East. Not the Yankees, or Rays, or Red Sox. The Blue Jays.

The sad thing about tonight's loss is that the O's got the solid start that they've been looking for since the last time Jeremy Guthrie took the hill. Guthrie pitched seven innings while allowing one unearned run on six hits. He also struck out three and walked just one. But when the O's do one thing well, they usually fail in other aspects of the game -- tonight was no different. Despite Guthrie's great outing, the O's offense put together three hits and three walks -- that's it. And the offense wasn't just bad; they were awful against Brad Mills, a 25-year-old lefty making his first start of 2010. That isn't to say Mills didn't pitch well -- he did -- but the O's couldn't get anything going at the plate and barely pieced together any scoring opportunities.

To make matters worse, the O's didn't play well defensively either. After a Vernon Wells single in the second inning, Adam Lind singled to left center. Wells was well on his way to third base, but Corey Patterson bobbled the ball in the outfield, allowing Wells to score easily. Since there were no outs, the Blue Jays probably would have scored at least a run in the inning even if Patterson didn't commit an error. But plays like that have hurt the O's all season; not only do they not take the extra base when they're on the basepaths, but they allow other teams to move up another base or two to take early leads. That's not a particularly good quality to have when their offense doesn't produce many runs of their own. For good measure, Patterson bobbled a ball late in the game on a Jose Bautista double, as did Adam Jones on a triple by Adam Lind. Nice work, guys.

By the way, the game was likely over because the score was 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, but with a runner on second and two outs and Will Ohman pitching, Juan Samuel made the decision to walk Aaron Hill to pitch to Lyle Overbay. Under normal circumstances, there's nothing wrong with that choice, I guess. I thought about looking into the numbers, which I briefly did before deciding that Samuel just made the choice because Ohman and Overbay are both left-handed. It didn't matter that Hill has been horrible this year or that putting extra runners on simply hasn't worked for the's O's much at all. But it's fun to over-manage, though it's hard to fault Samuel much at all. Considering how poorly the O's have played this year, no matter the decision, the Blue Jays likely would have found a way to add to their lead. Dave Trembley found that out the hard way.

As you can tell, being an O's fan isn't fun right now. The managerial situation is still seemingly up in the air, there have been no updates on the trade front, and the team's young players aren't producing at the major league level. It's fun to point and laugh, but just be glad that this isn't the team you root for right now.

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