11 September 2018

A new low in the Orioles nightmare season

Bad baseball seasons happen. In sports, and in life, someone has to win and someone has to lose. Between 2012 and 2016 the Orioles did a lot of winning. It was natural for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. But the ferocity with which that pendulum has swung is what has caught many of us off guard.

The 2018 Orioles will go down as the worst team in franchise history and one of the worst teams in recent baseball history. But "worst" in this context refers to win-loss record. Wins, as many people say, is the most important stat. That's true in the standings, but there are many different ways to win a game. Just as teams can have fortunate seasons where they succeed in a high percentage of close contests, the opposite can happen as well. That is not what is occurring to these Orioles.

The entire season has been a disaster, but this past weekend in Tampa Bay may have been an all-time low. The Orioles were crushed, in every phase of the game, by a solid, above-average Rays team. There were weird wild pitches, numerous fielding miscues and seemingly an overall lack of execution on the fundamentals of the game. Caleb Joseph publicly made his opinion known, verbalizing what many had already known to be true.

What makes this season frustrating is not the number of losses, but rather the inability of the players and coaches to identify flaws in their game and implement a change for the better. There has been no indication that anyone involved at the club understands what's wrong. Dylan Bundy continues to implode on the mound, routine plays continue to be botched, and sometimes it feels like no one in the bullpen can get opposing hitters out. Instead it is rather, rinse, repeat.

Perhaps the sad truth is that there is just too little talent to work with on this roster. That feels like a poor and convenient excuse. If that is the reasoning for such poor baseball, then it should make for some easy personnel decisions in the offseason.

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