We’re not even 20 games into the 2018 season, and I feel like I’ve aged a decade watching this team. The Orioles are 5-14, and have looked terrible – like, Dark Ages terrible. Seriously, without looking it up, can you clearly remember the last game the Orioles won? That is a bad sign. I’ll grant that it’s silly to put too much stock in early season losses, but the O’s need to start winning the occasional game to give us hope that they can pull out of this tailspin, and play some competitive baseball this season. So far, they have been painful to watch.
Look, this is going to sound harsh, but hear me out on this one. I’m glad that I haven’t really had to watch this mess. I mean, if the Orioles are going to crap the bed game after game, it is awfully nice of them to do it during a stretch in which they are playing midweek day games. Like a lot of us, I am unable to tune into either the television or the radio while I am working. Whereas I am disappointed when I read the box score, or see the updates from Orioles Twitter, I am getting reprieves from driving down to Misery Town every game.
Even better, as a season ticket holder, I have only been to one game – Opening Day. My 13-game package contains only home Sunday dates, so after trading in my tickets for Easter, I won’t be forced to watch this team lose, in person, until April 22nd against the Indians.
Chris Davis hit a two-run home run yesterday in the top of the second inning that put the Orioles ahead, after having fallen behind in the first inning… again. This wasn’t a junk time solo shot, this was Chris Davis doing something useful, at a time when it mattered.
No, I don’t think Chris Davis is “back.” No, I can’t foresee him doing anything this season that makes his contract seem anything other than a magnificent roster albatross.
But every once in a great while, it’s nice to remember that Chris Davis was once a very good player, and very fun to root for. Watching him hit majestic dongs is a joy that comes fewer and farther between than I’d like. But hey… when nothing else is going well, why not stop and smell the roses?
The Orioles’ acquisition of Alex Cobb just before the season started filled me with hope. Landing Cobb meant that the Andrew Cashner signing wasn’t meaningless. It meant that Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy would be joined in the rotation by two, real major league pitchers.
That was before we saw him pitch, of course.
Cobb started his season in the minor leagues, to overcome his lack of Spring Training, and has looked every bit like a minor league pitcher since joining the Orioles. In his first two starts, he has pitched a total of seven innings, given up 20 hits, and 12 earned runs.
Yeesh. When I said that he is wearing #17 to honor Brian Matusz, it was a bad joke. No need to try to rack up an historically bad ERA, while making me want to push you off on an ice floe.
When Beckham arrived in Baltimore last season, he played out of his mind.
For one month.
He lit the world on fire with a wRC+ of 183, but then fell off to a paltry wRC+ of 58 for the remainder of the Orioles’ season (in which we were treated to a Dark Ages style September Swoon).
Here in 2018, he’s not only performing poorly at the plate (wRC+ of 31, to go with a 33% K percentage), he’s also got a little of the Ryan Minor funk on him. Yeah, he’s the guy at third base after Manny Machado. Manny, who could throw runners out from the first row of the seats, the guy who famously didn’t throw it away, by not throwing it at all… that guy is a tough act to follow. It’s even tougher to follow when that guy is still on your team, playing his new defensive position well, and putting up the kind of offensive numbers that will price him out of Baltimore.
Holding up to the Manny standard is one thing, but Beckham established a first impression with Baltimore fans that turned out to be unsustainable.