Archive for July, 2011

Horioleble

I’m going to be honest.  After last year, I didn’t think things could get much worse.  But you know what?  Right now, they seem worse.

Not only have the Orioles lost 8 in a row, they’ve also lost any semblance of a major league pitching staff, the ability to hit with runners in scoring position, and seemingly, their own self-respect.

In the month of July, during which the Orioles have lost 11 of their last 12 and 8 games in a row, the team ERA has been a frightening 7.80.  Pretty bad, right?  But when you factor in that during that same time span, the team has hit .236, it really kicks it up a notch.  If you weren’t a savvy Orioles fan, now long accustomed to excruciating displays of futility, you might think that kind of thing would be hard to do.

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3 Things the Orioles Must Do

With the All-Star game rapidly approaching, and the season nearly halfway over, I think it’s safe to conclude that thus far, 2011 has been a disappointment.  If you’re a fellow Orioles diehard, then you know all too well that the Os seem to excel at concocting nuanced definitions of the word.

Five years ago, they couldn’t win because they didn’t have the right players in their system and made ill-advised free agent signings.  Remember Jamie Walker?  Three years ago, they did have some talented young players, but they weren’t quite ready for the spotlight.  Now that they finally do seem to have a quorum of talented young players, they seem not be able to avoid injuries, or total talent regression.

The inconsistency of the starting pitching, injuries, and a lack of timely hitting have all contributed to a subpar performance for the 2011 team.  Still, there are some signs of hope.  JJ Hardy has demonstrated himself to be an excellent shortstop, maybe the best in the American League so far this year.  Adam Jones is having a big season, and seems to have greatly improved his approach and strike zone discipline.

Although it’s tempting to only look at the negatives, the question that most interests me is this: how can we get better?  How can the Orioles take what they’ve learned so far this year, process it, and come up with a roadmap that means the future will be better?  To my mind, failure is only worthless if you don’t learn anything from it.  Based on what we’ve seen so far this season, here are 3 things that I think the Orioles MUST do, to avoid sacrificing the glacial progress they’ve been able to realize over the past couple of years.

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