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Orioles losing, embarrassing themselves

The Baltimore Orioles started the season well, vying with the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East. It was a surprise, considering most believed the Boston Red Sox would be top dog by a wide margin in that division, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays and maybe then, the Orioles.

Now, as the calendar turns to the middle of June, Baltimore is beginning to wilt significantly. After the Orioles lost 16-3 against the Yankees in New York on Saturday, they fell to 5.5 games behind first, sitting in third behind the Red Sox as well.  Baltimore has now lost three straight and has the Tampa Bay Rays only a half-game behind it in fourth.

However, it’s not the 31-29 record that’s concerning. It’s the 6-13 mark in the last 19 games coupled with an increasing lack of both pitching and patience. After having a game against the Washington Nationals be rained out on May 11, the two teams played the makeup date on Thursday. Washington won, despite having to fly back across the country from the west coast, while the Orioles only had to endure a 30-minute commute. Afterwards, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter quipped that the weather was still terrible. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was having none of the complaining and then some, per ESPN:

“It rained all day that day, and the forecast said it would rain until 9:30 or 10,” Rizzo told The Washington Post, recalling the events of May 11. “I sat in Buck’s office at 6:30, and we talked about it for 20 minutes. He was 100 percent on-board. He didn’t say anything about not canceling the game.

“Their GM [Dan Duquette] was nowhere to be found for three, four hours. We wanted to play the next day. They refused to play then, so the next [open] day was [Thursday]. They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 [expletive] miles, and we beat their [behinds]. So quit your whining. Quit whining.”

Frankly, Showalter has bigger issues. The Orioles are watching superstar third baseman Manny Machado hit .213 with a .289 on-base percentage. J.J. Hardy has been even worse, hitting at a .201 clip with a .235 OBP. On the mound, it has been an utter disaster save for Dylan Bundy. Chris Tillman is pitching to the tune of an 8.01 ERA while Ubaldo Jimenez stunk up the joint over eight starts with a 6.66 ERA. Kevin Gausman has been a top prospect for years, but his development has been slow, pitching to a 5.86 ERA while allowing 90 hits in only 66 innings.

If the Orioles don’t start getting some better swings out of Machado, along with a massive improvement on the mound, they’ll sink below .500 by this time next week. Showalter needs to figure out his next move and fast, because while the standings are still tight, the Orioles are clearly taking on some water.

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