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The Bad & The Ugly (No Good Right Now)

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

Remember just a few weeks ago when we were so ga-ga over our team? A 4-0 start and then to 6-1? National press was positive and that corner we always wanted to turn seemed to finally be in the rear view mirror. Wrong!

After a 2-11 slide that included 8 losses in a row, it appears that the 1998-2010 Oriole Way has returned. A return to mediorcre pitching, errors and silent bats.

Last year we were 2-16 at one point. Now, we are 8-12. Four games under .500 is not that bad at the moment. There is no run away team in either the NL or AL at the moment nor is there a historically bad team either. Everyone, technically, is still in the race.

Before we go and blame injuries (Matusz and Hardy are missed) as the only reason for the slide, it should be noted that the Orioles find new ways to lose daily. If it is not the starter getting blown it, then it is the bullpen who blows it later in the game. Or it can just be the quiet bats who manage a paltry two hits tonight when a starter is effective (usually Guthrie).

So we split with the lackluster Twins last week only to get kicked twice by the dreaded Yankees over the weekend. After the Friday rain out, Saturday was a real smacking with a final of 15-3. Then on Easter, in front an embarrassingly small crowd, the Orioles came back only to lose to NYY in 11 innings. Yes, I am hanging my head too.

Even worse than the losing for me, is the complete lack of support the Orioles are getting from fans. As of today, our average attendance is lower than it was at this point last year (and we were 2-16 then). In fact, those powerhouse NL franchises in Pittsburgh and Washington are currently outdrawing us. Case in point: with the Yankees in town we got only 30K+ on Saturday night and 25K on Sunday. Total over 2 games. 55K!? It should have been 90K+ easily for a mega division rival on a spring weekend. Sometimes I wonder if our players get depressed seeing empty seats all the time. I might not try as hard either. Not sure what is worse, empty ballpark or people who are there rooting for visiting team. It has to be psychologically scarring for sure.

Twenty games into a 162 game season is nothing. There are two rain outs to make up and the train is just getting moving on this 2011 campaign. I still have a lot of hope, especially in guys who are cold. Lee, Vlad, Roberts, Nick, Reynolds - a pretty potent lineup. The bullpen certainly needs fixing or else someone should get fired.

NEWSFLASH - Mike "Overpaid" Gonzalez has won the 2011 Orioles Garrett Atkins award for crummy play. Hopefully he gets shown the door by May, even earlier than Atkins himself got released last year. Would be good for the club. Cut your losses and get rid of the bum.

After the chowdah series (and I am not convinced by that team either) we will head out to Chicago and Kansas City for a stretch. Wins would be nice people. But then again, too many wins could result in sensory overload and extended euphoria and the team could implode.

All the same, I still want to see the wins.

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