Last night’s 5-1 loss at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays was not fun to watch. The recently rock-steady Wei-Yin Chen did his best Chris Tillman impression with a 29-pitch first inning in which he staked the Baltimore Orioles to a deficit from which they would not recover.
Drew Hutchinson dominated the Orioles, going 8.2 innings allowing only one hit. Outside of Chris Davis‘ second inning home run, there was very little reason for Orioles fans to get excited. It was a drubbing, pure and simple. And although it was painful to watch, we should remember that this was only one loss, and the Orioles are in a very good position to take the series tonight in Toronto, extending their first-place lead by a game.
Pretty nice positioning, right? And if they lose, the Birds will suffer their first back-to-back losses since June 28-29, 2014. It has been over a month since the Orioles lost two consecutive games, which is a large part of why the team is fifteen games over .500, and considered by many to be the favorites to win the American League East. So last night’s game was “just one loss.”
It is a pleasant change for Orioles fans, because the Dark Period of Orioles Baseball presented losses in bunches. Consider the 2010 team that opened its first 20 games with a 4-16 record. Or that the season contained separate nine and ten game losing streaks.The 2009 squad dropped thirteen in a row, on the way to their 6-20 September.
Sure, these are cherry-picked numbers, and even the 2012 Buckle Up Birds had their rough patches. But the point remains that the staple of the terrible Orioles teams Baltimore fans were “treated” to for fourteen years was horrific stretches of losing. Losses built up. Fans could look back at a calendar month, and realize that the team only won a handful of games.
Those losses were not excruciating, because they were common-place. Watching a starter blow up in the first did not sting, because it was their modus operandi. Those games were not “just one loss.” They were one of many. One of an unpleasant trend. We were numb.
And now, are alive again. And in a pennant race. Things will not always be rosy – teams like the Blue Jays and New York Yankees are not going to roll over and make it easy for the Birds to win their first division “championship” in 17 years. But, in what has become a new experience for Orioles fans, there is reason to expect that losses like last night will not carry over into today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. This team has been avoiding the tailspin that has bitten so many Orioles teams before it.