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Stuck in Neutral

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

So over the last 10 games, the Orioles have managed to regress just a bit more. While other struggling teams have surged upward (namely the Twins) our black and orange boys have slowed the pace instead of picking it up.

I am not the only one who seems to have had it with recent frustrations. Based on the attendance at the Yard this season, which is down by more than 3K per game as of now, others are throwing in the towel as well.

And who has themselves to blame for this. The players. When you have only two starting pitchers with ERAs under 4 (Guthrie and Britton) and your "best" player - Markakis - is hitting a mere .240 in the #2 spot, something is seriously wrong. The acquisitions of Lee and Vlad have drawn mediocre results thus far. The Reynolds experiment is a proven failure thanks in large part to his .190 average, his recent grand slam not withstanding. And even the recent demotions of Berken, Tillman, and Bergesen have done nothing to jump start this club.

The culture of the team is one that is rooted in apathy and laziness. It stems from the ownership's approach to not fielding a winner for so many years combined with the revolving door of managers, GMs and overpaid free agents. Recent reports of the Orioles are one of several teams over the debt limit set by MLB does little to help the image of the club. And the pundits who picked the team to finish last again are smiling at their seemingly accurate predictions.

I have also made my own little prediction. If the Orioles cannot get to .500 by the All Star Break, then they won't see it again this season. The Buck factor is wearing off and with age and injuries becoming a major wrench in the plans, it seems that 2011 may not be the building season we had hoped it would be.

Will the return of Roberts (whenever that is) be the necessary catalyst? Will Matusz be the rotation anchor now instead of Guthrie? I have no idea. Recent losses and sloppiness have me shaking my head more and more.

Six games remain on this current homestand. This club needs to man up now and rattle off a bunch of wins. The same old, same old will not fly in this town anymore.

And if things do not change quickly, get used to seeing a lot of empty green seats more the rest of 2011.


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