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July Meltdown

Written by: Peter Coolbaugh

The summer trudges forward.  Apparently the wilting heat in the USA has affect the play of the Baltimore Orioles, as the team has limped to a 4-9 record in July thus far and are in danger of falling below .500 soon and losing their spot in second place in the AL East.

The defense continues to be atrocious.  And the starting pitching has regressed to the Little League level.  Thanks to inefficiency and injuries, the current pitching staff looks like a hodgepodge of guys from AA and AAA sent to help, including the long-since-banished Brad Bergesen who will be arriving to provide relief as a long set up man.  That is how bad things have gotten.

Offensively, things are just as poor.  The team batting average sits at a paltry .239, good enough to place 26 out of 30 in all the majors.  Jones continues to carry the team, but the other "big bats" of Hardy, Wieters, Markakis and Reynolds have all dipped.

Then we get to the bullpen who happened to be nearly flawless going into July.  Well, the regression has apparently hit them too.  Blown saves, too many walks, not being able to hold a lead.  The Orioles do find new ways to lose on any given night.  Sometimes it is a straight blowout (see recent Tillman start), or a late inning choke.  You never know what you are going to get with these guys.

The crumbling must stop now.  Beating teams like Minnesota should be easier than going toe-to-toe with the Yankees or Rays.  No one thought the Orioles would be over .500 on July 15, but if they wish to sustain their surprising season, it needs to be corrected and now.  Pundits are beginning to smile and say "the real Birds are now here, I told you so" which I think is hogwash.

An internal team meeting may be needed to get the air cleared and people refocused.  All the good things the Orioles have done will fall to the wayside if this season goes south.  And then the jokes will resume.  And no one really wants that.


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