Catching up with the birds...
Baltimore is mired in a five game losing streak, dropping to ten below .500 for the first time this season and likely ending any outlandish fantasies about miracles runs at a Wild Card. Through these five losses, Baltimore has not led at the end of an inning, and has only grabbed the lead once -- yesterday in the top of the fourth inning the O's took a 2-0 lead after a Mark Reynolds before losing that lead as soon as the Braves stepped up to bat in the bottom half.
Baltimore now has the third worst run differential in all of baseball (-62) behind just the Cubs (-76) and the Astros (-91). They are 14.5 games behind the first place Yankees and five games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card. With the 2011 season all but officially over for The Birds, it's time to consider the future. While looking ahead to the next season is not a novel occurrence for O's fans, the sheer weight of 14 straight years of meaningless second half games has a way of grinding the interest out of a fan base (and rightfully so). In order to try and keep our readers excited, or at least interested, over the next month, I will be posting scouting reports on trade targets -- both rumored and suggested.
Hopefully that will keep stimulating conversation among Orioles fans, and as a group Orioles fans can continue to try and hold out hope that a turnaround is somewhere in the not-to-distant future. This is still a core that can be built around, but as Jon and I have written numerous times this upcoming off-season may be the last significant opportunity for that building to produce a meaningful effect. To the extent Baltimore can find solutions in the trade market over the next 28 days, the pressure of checking everything off a long "to do" list in the off-season could be considerably lessened.
I'll be at the field this afternoon for game one of the USA Collegiate National Team's series against their counterparts from Japan. This evening I'll post some thoughts on the start of the International Free Agent signing period and yesterday's somewhat surprising barrage of bonuses.
Zach Britton is taking on the Braves this afternoon -- you can read a preview of the match-up from STATS LLC here.