The Orioles are still playing baseball, even if the results have become predictable and heartbreaking. And for some reason, we are still watching Orioles Baseball. So here are some good and bad things that have happened this week.
Chris Davis has done some OK stuff.
Chris Davis made a triumphant return from his head-clearing trip to the bench. I mean, he hit a home run, and we got to cheer while he ran around the bases. So, yay?
And let’s be clear, he has also struck out a ton since then. And he’s had multiple hit-less games. I’m not saying Crush is back.
Davis has hit home runs in successive games, and not every one of his at bats has been miserable. In a lost season, I am willing to be patient to see if Davis can go from being the worst player in baseball history to simply the most overpaid mediocre one.
It’s 2018 – it’s time to lower our expectations.
Mr. Right Now
In the Orioles’ most recent frustrating loss, they got nine innings of 2-run baseball from a combination if Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramirez. Again, let’s not kid ourselves: neither of these guys is going to amount to anything in the big leagues. They’ll only stick around long enough to screw up our collective auto-correct.
But for a team whose 25-man roster has let them down so dramatically, and whose minor league system has such little hope on the horizon, it’s nice to get the occasional surprise. We may not find Mr. Right down in the minors, but sometimes Mr. Right Now will do the trick.
Note: In this instance, “do the trick” is a stand in for “delay the inevitable agony of defeat.” This season is the worst.
Hey, that’s my magic!
I didn’t mind the Mariners coming to town and sweeping my Orioles in a four game set. And I didn’t so much mind them doing it with a former fan favorite, Nelson Cruz. What was really difficult about the Seattle series was listening to the description of their season.
An uncanny stretch of extra-inning games. Dominance in one-run affairs. The team is better than expected… They’re winning on the 2012 Orioles model! It sucks to think that our team’s unlikely run isn’t so far in the rear view mirror, and that there is so little hope on the road that stretches out ahead.
So have at it, Mariners fans. Enjoy, because we here in Baltimore have found that magic to have a definitive shelf life. And when things roll off the shelf, there is no floor.
The Not-So-Lovely Totals
The Orioles’ most recent losing streak has reached five games. They’ve lost 16 of their last 20. And 23 of their last 30. They’re 31 games out of first place and are on a pace to lose 115 games. They have played nearly one half of their schedule, and precious few of them have been fun to watch. This has been like watching the 2002 swoon (4-32) over a full season.
When you stop to take stock, it can make you ill. And think: this is how they are performing with Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and any other spare part they can find to trade away.
Whatever you are looking for in the remainder of the season, the only way you will be satisfied is if you lower your expectations.