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August 20, 2011

News, notes and opinions: 100 losses, Yocum, Angels, Andino, Reimold

In case you are keeping track, the Orioles’ loss last night puts them back on pace to lose 100 games (62-100 to be exact). My colleague, Dan Connolly, keeps reminding me how tough it is for a team to lose 100. He brings up the fact that only one Orioles’ team since 1954 has done it, and reminds me that of all the bad baseball teams that we have watched side-by-side in the pressbox since 2005, none of them have lost 100 games. I get it as Buck Showalter likes to say. But it’s getting harder and harder to envision this team not losing 100. One, they seemingly lose another player to injury on a nightly basis. Two, there is nobody coming up in September who projects as a difference maker. And three, their schedule is absolutely ridiculous the rest of the way. Of their remaining 40 games, 26 of them are against the American League East. The Orioles are just 14-31 against divisional foes this season. Fifteen of them are against the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, who the Orioles are a combined 4-17 against this season. They play only one series – a four-game set next week in Minnesota – against a team not currently above .500. Take away the series against the Twins and the remaining 36 games on the Orioles’ schedule are against teams that enter today a combined 89 games over .500. Yeah, that will go well.

Please understand that I’m not making a joke here because shoulder and elbow injuries can be career-threatening, and I’m sensitive to that. But since last Friday, the Orioles have won only two games while sending four players (Jake Arrieta, Dan Klein, Chris Davis and now Jason Berken) during that span to see renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum. It’s not funny, but it is a fitting representation of what has become of this baseball season for the Orioles.

There aren’t too many positive days for Orioles fans, but I’d have to imagine that watching this series will only further depress Baltimore baseball fans simply because of how much young talent the Angels have and how they acquired a lot of it. Power-hitting first baseman Mark Trumbo, 25, was an 18th-round pick. Fleet-footed outfielder and leadoff man Peter Bourjos, 24, was a 10th-round pick. All-Star closer Jordan Walden, 23, was a 12th-round pick, and one of his top setup men, Bobby Cassevah, 25, was taken by the Angels in the 34th round. Outfielder Mike Trout, a 20-year-old considered one of the best prospects in baseball, was a first-round pick, but he lasted to 25th overall in 2009. Second baseman Howie Kendrick, 28, was taken in the 10th round. Throw in Ervin Santana, 28, and Erick Aybar, 25, who were both international free agents and you are reminded of one of the main reasons why the Orioles are close to clinching a 14th consecutive losing season. The Orioles’ scouting and player development departments, and the organization’s commitment to each, just hasn’t matched up, not to the Angels, not to so many other teams in the American League.

I know he’s not a very popular guy on this blog and he certainly has his limitations as a player, but I don’t think there is another Oriole who has improved more from Opening Day until now than Robert Andino. He had two more hits last night and he’s now batting .270. Among regulars, only Nick Markakis (.339) has a better on-base percentage than Andino (.336). His defense at second has also improved significantly as the season has gone on. I’ve said this before but as you look through the Orioles’ roster, there is only a handful of players who have exceeded expectations and Andino is high on that list.

Nolan Reimold has now played 93 big league games over the past two seasons and he’s batted .212 (59-for-278) with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs to go along with 30 walks and 63 strikeouts. It’s easy to be mesmerized with his power and how quickly he gets down the line, and he has a disciplined at-bat more times than not, but it’s going to be hard for team officials to ignore those numbers above when they sit down this offseason and decide whether they need to go after a left fielder.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 7:00 AM | | Comments (37)
        

Comments

Nolan Reimold is a good example of the Orioles player development. When he first came up he was fun to watch,but after a few seasons with the Orioles he looks overmatched at the plate,The same can be said for Matusz.When young talent gets to the Orioles they get worse not better.The Orioles need a complete makeover

When the house next door becomes a total eye-sore and no one has lived in it for years, you douse it with gasoline, burn it to the ground, and re-build from scratch.

A tip of the cap to you and AM on the Lebron DFA. My tirade proved worthless on exposing him since he passed through waivers. Hopefully, he proves to have some value next year in a 'pen that is wide open to new arms.

Do they have Dr. Yocum on a retainer or a minimum number of player visits this year? They obviously surpassed the average usage of his services.

Jeff-

We've heard so much about the Orioles' lack of commitment to scouting especially in comparison to division rivals like the Red Sox.

I think it would be interesting to explore why teams like the Angels is so adept at seemingly finding talent everywhere in the draft and overseas.

What happened with those late round picks you mentioned? I would imagine the answer lies with the Angels' player development.

It seems to me that the Orioles real disadvantage -- bigger than playing the monsters of the AL East or their scouting deficiencies -- is their inability to develop players.

I don't need to repeat the laundry list of prospects who have not lived up to expectations or who have failed entirely.

The Orioles' high-round picks seem to become only solid Major Leaguers not stars (Markakis, Wieters) and with the exception of David Hernandez, they don't seem to be able to find anything past the first 5 rounds.

What are the Angels doing in their player development? Teams like the Twins and Cardinals also would be interesting to investigate.

Peter the Great must be proud.................

I can't believe people are still going to the games , this team is a complete joke..............

Where are the Mayflower moving vans , if they moved out no one would notice for months , maybe years..........

Jeff,
Brady Anderson was high on Riemold during the spring. I admit he isn't impressing anyone. Do you think that Showalter would get Brady involved to try and straighten Nolan out?


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Jeff Z's reply: Brady was with Reimold for part of the time while he was in Norfolk, and he's been with the team over the last couple of weeks. So he has been around him.

Jeff,
You and Dan should get combat pay for having to watch this drek night in and night out. Granted the injuries have decimated the season. It's like watching car races to see the wrecks. Who's next.
I've been a lifelong O's fan and have even stuck my head in at spring training to say hi to you and Dan but this is really disheartening. There just doesn't seem to be a way out for this terrible mess of a ballclub. With this season behind us why would any free agents want to sign to play here? I sure hoped that this year would provide some proof that things could be turned around. Oh well.
But thanks to you and Dan for hanging in there. With the team being so snake bitten there can’t be enough free press meal hotdogs in the world to make up for the pain.

Good comments Jeff but, let's not forget the Orioles are just plain horrible in scouting, signing and developing our players. Without a doubt the WORST and they need to be called out by the writers on this issue. Only you guys can force the issue and if the organization doesn't like it than that's too bad.

Well said. If Andino keeps it up, the O's could do worse than keeping him at 2nd. Of course if BRob makes it back and is healthy (big if) he can be infield utility guy. There are so many other spots to fill like most of the pitching staff and DH and LF.
Reimold can be OF utility guy. Luke is just too streaky to count on. Reynolds should go in as our 1B next year. 3B who knows.
That's a lot of places to fill already without adding 2B to the list.

Jeff, I agree about our scouting and player development departments. Have we had an inordinate amount of injuries, especially to pitchers? These guys are young. What gives? Maybe we should put Jim Palmer in charge of pitching throughout the organization! :-)

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Jeff Z's reply: It seems to me that the Orioles have had more injuries than other teams, but I'm told that there are several teams who have had it worst. It's a hard thing to track and determine.

Jeff: Thank you for continuing to provide intelligent baseball reporting to a paper that otherwise would be without it.

On the 100 loss issue...last season I counted the games hoping we wouldn't do it, this year its just a big "oh well". So many things have gone wrong and the season has been so disappointing that it just doesn't seem to matter. Unless they use it as some kind of rallying cry for this year or next, what the hell? I agree that Andino has proven himself to be a lot better than I thought, it just took him a long time to get there. I'm not counting on Roberts at this point for next season so I think he'll be starting there again next year. For me jury is still out on Riemold, he doesn't seem to have the fire inside like the CF from the Angels or Trout, or a Mclouth. As for all the Angels productive players, I think that shows the real flaw in the O's organization, we just don't have the talent evaluators other organizations have...so who evaluates our evaluators?

Re Reimold:
I'm reminded of Showalter's ad where he states that hustle and awareness win ball games. Nolan pushes the "All business" button all the time! He doesn't even smile much. Pie is a gifted racehorse in a thinking game: I think they both have roles to play if the pitching was more consistent with location so the defense could be properly positioned.
When you have a chronically last place team, replacing adequate,leftfielders is not the cornerstone for future success. A mix of healthy veteran and young pitchers is but how do you attract good veterans if their numbers are going to suffer ala Mussina? That's the $64K question GMs get paid to answer.
We have the youth but no veteran starting pitchers.

Jeff, you are spot on. If this series doesn't show how terrible the Orioles committment is to winning seriously, than nothing does.

Jeff, it doesn’t surprise me that the Angels have a productive farm system. I lived in Eastern Europe three years ago and sought to help develop and promote baseball there. I wrote a letter to every MLB team about developing talent and scouting. Eddie Bane from the Angels was one of the first guys to respond to my letter!

All but 4 teams responded to my letter. The Orioles were one of the four teams that didn’t show any interest. Of the other three teams, one had a muddled front office at the time and the other two are predictably picking in the top 10 of the amateur draft every year!

I’m a life long Orioles fan that visits this site nearly everyday. I’ve read and haven’t commented up until now (this being my first comment). There is a correlation between those interested in developing international talent & scouting and those who aren’t.

"The Orioles’ scouting and player development departments, and the organization’s commitment to each, just hasn’t matched up, not to the Angels, not to so many other teams in the American League."

Far too kind an assessment, Jeff... That's probably why a lot of folks in this town are nearly as indifferent towards the Orioles media coverage as they are the Orioles...

A more accurate assessment would read:

The Orioles’ scouting and player development departments, by contrast, show the broadness of the words "scouting" and "development," because, if based upon the results, the Orioles cannot truly be said to have any such departments.

I agree with Ace.

The Orioles rarely can get a top 10 draft pick to be a solid contributor to the lineup much less a lower draft pick.

The whole scouting and player development team has to start all over. How can you not develop a single infielder in 10+ yrs ? Or a single starting pitcher?

Or find a 1B/DH/LF who can hit and be in the middle of the lineup every day? Instead we get the Pies, Atkins, Vlads, old Tejada, etc.

Keep Wieters, Jones, Reynolds and Hardy (although I wonder if the Orioles bought high there) and redo everything else. If Makakis can be traded for a good pitcher or hitter trade him, else keep him and hope for the best.

The power numbers from 1B/DH/LF/RF which are hitting positions is dreadful. Throw in little power from C and 2B and you have 100 losses.

I don't even want to mention the pitching staff since that is beyond words.

Jeff,

Reimold has always had a big problem with the good fastball just above the belt. He has worked to shorten his swing but he still gets eaten up by it all too often. Until he proves he can hit it, he will continue to see it. When Nolan started putting up good numbers in the minors, even the Orioles scouts were skeptical of his ability to hit major league pitching on a consistent basis. He was never hyped by the organization and a lot of fans wondered why people close to the game were not really that enthused about him. Being close to the team you probably knew that despite his numbers the Orioles were not really sold on him. I know a scout from another organization and he told me three years ago that not a lot of baseball people were that high on Reimold. Now I think we are seeing why. He may still become an impact hitter, but he is not a kid anymore, and at nearly 28 his potential will only be potential for so long.

Nolan is capable of being a great player. To me, Reimold sometimes looks dejected during his at-bats. Him and Reynolds have the same agonizing expressions fom time-to-time. Just my humble opinion. Body language and confidence go such a long way in baseball or in many other facets of life.

I am going to join the choir here and ask what the heck is wrong with the O's player development system? Reimold is just one of many young O's prospects that look great for a while when they first come up, and then disappoint. That just can't keep happening over and over again unless there is an underlying cause. As for the 100 losses, I'm with Joe, who cares at this point? This team is just no fun to follow at all anymore. I listened to the first inning of last nights game and then turned it off knowing that it was going to be a loss. The O's just don't come back from more than one or two runs down, even if it's only the first inning. When you know for sure that your team has already lost the game when they're down by 4 after one inning, does that even qualify as Major League baseball?
I didn't really care all that much if they signed their picks this year. Again, what difference does it make if you feel pretty certain that no matter how well regarded the prospects are, that none of them will become a quality player as long as they're with the O's?
Look at what Matt Albers has been doing with the Red Sox since leaving here. A mediocre pitcher at best, he's become a solid, reliable reliever, with his ERA about 2 runs lower with the Sox. Why can teams who draft consistently later, regularly churn out solid ML players with an occasional star? Why can O's players who are lousy with us, suddenly get better when they leave? The real story that needs to be written is why our player development system has become such a black hole. Until the O's can start producing a steady stream of ML ready players out of their farm system, no amount of money in the world will make them competitive in the AL East.

I am an oriole fan and I will be next year as for the rest I wish they would just shut up and go to washington or new york. No one on this team wants to play as they have. It is their dreams and pro careers going down. If they just don't have the talent that is it. Is it possible Bradys type of training is not the best for baseball players. We need to draft some trainers and developement people from some of the other organizations. WE also need some respected players scouting in the dominican and venezuela who kids want to join. Yes andino,hardy,jones, have exceeded expectations. Markakis is coming around to his usual self Wieters is an all star reynolds is about what many expected and better than we've had their in some time. That leaves LF,1B,2B, to be filled and use leftovers to fill DH. Simon is pitching himself back into the pen maybe in johnsons role. PATTON is pitching into consideration for next years pen, Gregg is already there like it or not. Jabusaukas and bergesen have had their moments. LEAVES a lot of openings in the pen and maybe one or two in rotation adding to the starters would force better performance to stay there.

1st of all Matt Albers is "Fat" and nothing more. Also, I would like to answer "Burt from Essex" here about Reimold. Since when is hustling down the 1st base line a prerequisite for playing left field. Vlad Guerrero hustles too, but I wouldn't put him in left field. Vlad is still a good base runner, he's slown down a great deal though. However, he still hustles. So, I beg to differ with you Burt. It's nothing personal, it's just business. As for Andino having the best glove on the team. I still stand by what I said. My question to you is, who do you think has the best glove? Lastly, our rotation has to be the worst ever. Reyes is fresh off the Blue Jay scrap heap and as an aside, what made Andy MacPhail think he was salvageable? If both the Blue Jays and Braves gave up on him and they both have a strong track record of developing pitchers. What makes the Orioles think they can turn him into a legitimate starting pitcher, when they couldn't. Tonight is Hunter's turn, I don't have any problem with him. If he gets himself into better shape, he might be pretty good. As of right now I am off to watch the Mets/Brewers game. I want to Boo Rick Kranitz,. I am going to boo him because I feel like it. Also, I am going to cheer on Chris Capuano, why because I feel like it and I responded to you Burt because, I felt like it.

Jeff,

The schedule doesn't matter. This team loses to everyone.

It's hard to describe how terrible this team is on a blog. No one could possibly to the subject justice. But Jeff, why is no one accountable since Andy arrived? No team in any sport, would just be given a pass year in and year out. At this point Jeff, change for the sake of change would be a good thing.

You can't get worse than this Jeff. Sure, Houston is worse, but does anyone believe they won't improve like most teams do? The orioles never improve.

Angelos won't leave. We can hope all we won't, but he just won't. The losing means nothing to him and he isn't affected by fans anger whatsoever. He just doesn't care.

In fact, he will give Andy a new deal, which is essence will be the exactbsame thing as spitting in the fans face. I know that's harse, and I know Andy is a nice man. He's even accessible to the media, which you guys like. But the game passed him by long ago Jeff.

Since angelos won't leave, we need a complete oberhaul. 100 losses Jeff. What are you guys going to say next...that you still believe in andys plan? I hope not Jeff. We as fans, are smarter than that.

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Jeff Z's reply: I've said several times that I think the front office will be shaken up after the season. I don't think Andy will be back, at least not in his present capacity. I am more and more sure of it with every passing day.

Buck grades out as a zero when it comes to handling Reimold. When Nolan is right he is one of the most disciplined hitters this club has. He has been pressing and has not come anywhere near where he was before Buck took over, despite being healthy.

I hope Nolan gets a legitimate shot elsewhere with a real major league organization.

So, anyone else think that Andy McF. is just keeping the O's GM seat warm for ... Jim Hendry? (The ultimate ex-Cub hire.)

I'm glad to see the player development and scouting system getting the attention it deserves. Every off season a great deal is made about which free agents we should target and who will or will not come. Nothing could be more irrelevent to this teams future.
The great problem is that the O's have been viewed as an athletic failure when, in fact they are a business failure. Just to echo what others have said:

a) is our player development and scouting a failure because our system and evaluation procedures flawed? For example, the Red Sox and Yankees emphasize plate discipline in their system while the O's promote "aggressiveness".
b) Our scouting teams and player development and coaches are employees of an unsuccessful organization. Are they poor because we do not pay enough to get good people or have any good people we have had been poached by other organizations.
c) When an organization is in need of a turnaround the usual practice is to recruit employees from other, successful organizations. Have we hired away coaches and development people who were successful elsewhere? Obviously we did this with Buck but have we done so further down the food chain?
d) At the top, Angelos hired Andy Macphail. I have to give Angelso credit for patience because although it has been a disaster, he did allow the Macphail program enough time to bear fruit. It didn't. That raises the question of the original hire. Andy was in charge of the Cubs. Not an organization steeped in a winning tradition. Perhaps what he should do is hire an AGM from a successful organziation who knows how to win and knows about modern baseball evaluation techniques that have evolved since the late 1970's.

There is a great story waiting to be written about the collapse of a once proud business. The failed draft picks and free agents are a symptom. The disease is the rot of dead organization. It would be great to see one of you write the autopsy.

Jeff - I am not trying to be funney here. A few of the comments have mentioned the things the Orioles are bad at, i.e., scouting, development etc. Seriously, is there something that the Orioles as a team are good at? I can't think of anything. Thanks

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Jeff Z's reply: I'm stumped.

I think it is fitting that in Andy Macphail's 5th season, and probably{and hopefully} his last with the organization, that the Orioles go out with 100 losses. In effect, his tenure is a handbook on how not to fix a broken organization. Many of you will understand it when I say that Andy was always getting ready to get ready. But he never got ready. He seemed perfectly content to run out the clock on his term without taking any major steps to change the culture of the organization. In effect, it has been four and a half wasted years Fixing a failing business requires dealing harshly and decisively with the root causes of the problems. Andy never did that. He spoke in baseballease but never backed it up with actions.

Andy was handpicked by Peer Angelos so that Angelos would not be confronted with draconian solutions, such as firing the front office or spending millions of dollars on International scouting, player development, and impact free agents. Andy was a buffer. He was hired to take the heat without making any waves. I'm sure there was at least a wink and a nod and an understanding between the two that Andy was not hired to reinvent the wheel with this franchise. And Andy took the job under those considerations. How does that speak to Andy's character as someone who is driven to change and winning?

Signing on to this site and proclaiming your 50 year fan bona fides does not entitle you to or anybody to criticize those of us who are disgusted with what has happened to this franchise and speak out about it. If you don't like what I or anybody else has to say about this sorry pitiful franchise, frankly, you can stuff it, because I am going to keep saying it until Peter Angelos does the honorable thing. I hope to live long enough. Anyone who continues to support this catastrophe is an enabler.

AJ and Andino have learned over time. Their skills have improved by playing every day or almost every day. Let Reimold and Bell play every day and let them learn. Players need to learn to play at every level. Obviously, the majors is the most difficult level and would seem to require the greatest adjustment so let them play and let see what we have.

I've been an Orioles fan since a very young age. I've followed the team through a lot, and I have a very hard time trying to come up with reasons why I should follow such an incompetent organization. At the all-star break, I stopped following the team on a daily basis. I'm having my first son soon, and I don't think I want to subject him to this. I'm going to let him follow my wife's team. The only thing that would change my mind at this point is if Peter Angelos sold the team. It saddens me that it has come to this.

Thank God for the Ravens, I stopped watching the O's a month or more ago. Now sometimes I click on the O's link to see how much they lost by.

The line on last nights closer: note 5 blown saves, another O's aquisions:

K Gregg
(L, 0-2; B, 5) 0.0 2 3 2 1 0 0 17-8 4.60

Signing Gregg was questionable at best last winter. Although he had a 35 or more saves, his walks, era, blow saves etc were all high. His stats indicated he was not a guy you could count on and he has been true to form. Trading an exceptional Koji for marginal and injured talent further proves that Andy McPhail does not have the ability to consistently evaluate talent. AM also acquired Bell in the Sherrill deal, and Bell has proven to be clueless. Nearly every move he has made does not work out. During the winter, rather than make aggressive, smart moves early, AM waits until all of the quality talent is gone and then we are stuck with signing marginal talent out of DESPERATION. This madness must end. Does anyone in the O's front office care? This team is a total embarrassment. If an executive consistently performed as AM does, he would be fired. At the end of the day, it is the product on the field and wins/loses that indicate success. Not only are the wins and on filed performance terrible, this is the worth product in all of baseball, and AM needs to be held accountable. After four years, .500 ball and a minor league system stocked with talent are not too much to ask of the AM. Instead we are certain to lose 100 games (I put the number at 110+ loses). I am not sure we can win another 10 games this season. How pathetic is that?

Enough of the AM experiment. He has proved that his success in he past was not attributed to his leadership. It may have been luck or dues to the people who worked for him. But after four years it is very obvious that he has nothing to offer this team and has set this franchise back at least 5 years.

BLOW IT UP !

Enjoying Andino's chippy play--he seems to be gaining confidence and responding more instinctively with each game. Maybe Reimold needs lenses (or a change to his Rx if he has them)... he needs the playing time to get fluidity into his game.. but a great swing--reminds me of Gary Roenicke.

Robertl's comments are on target. This collapse reveals the lack of progress in the organization. The most dispiriting thing to me this year, is the all too visible evidence that there is really no conceptual plan for remolding this team. Just plug holes with aging temps and hope the young (now withering) arms will save us. Without team design, there can be no solid evaluation of personnel--this is why so many that the Os let go end up doing well elswehere, even making the AllStar team. It was interesting that the Arizona GM recently said that they knew the missing piece for them was in the bullpen, so getting David H, with Putz, was their goal. They gave up a poor fielding hr/so hitter for one of our best young arms. Do you think they'll now decide to make him a starter?

Just to add about team design... so if your core is to be your pitchers (certainly in keeping with the great Os teams of the past), you don't bring on a poor fielding 3d baseman, just because he hits the long ball. Old Os focused on pitching, but by necessity also great defense (as JP will tell you)--and yes, needed Earl's 3-run dingers in timely fashion. But with the focus so much on pitching, you couldn't sacrifice defense at the corners to get those dingers.

Forgot to add my thanks to Jeff for the splendid reporting and insight, if by necessity of late, mostly postmortems.

Anyone who thinks losing 100 or more games out of 162 is "difficult" doesn't have the first grasp of anything competitive.

If I played Cal Ripken in some 1-on-1 basketball 162 times, I would likely lose 162 times. The only way losing 100 would be difficult would be if Cal tried to lose.

I realize the Orioles aren't trying to lose, but neither are their opponents. The Orioles are just that overmatched. Very simple. At least it should be -- especially to someone who draws a pay check covering sports.

That doesn't mean losing 100 games is a certainty at this point. While the schedule is foreboding enough to make 100 losses a real possibility, so is the possibility of New York and Boston not caring too much about Baltimore when September rolls around.

Now, when I say "not caring," I mean who those two teams are playing -- not that they don't actually care about the pitch by pitch of each game. Tampa Bay is 68-56 (.548). That is certainly enviable by Oriole standards over last 13-plus years. Nevertheless, they are 7.5 games behind the wild card spot even though they are also the closest team to Boston, the current wild card leader.

The Rays would need to make up more than a game per week against a team that has won over 60% of their games through 4.5 months. Therefore, it is more likely at some point in the next six weeks teams like the Red Sox and Yankees will rest players and get their starting rotations ready, and teams like the Rays and Blue Jays will want to make evaluations for next year.

If the Orioles finish 24-48 against the AL East, it would be a dismal record everyone will point to during the next offseason. However, that would mean the Orioles would finish 10-17 against those teams from here on out. And while winning 10 out of 27 games may seem optimistic, it would also equal losing the seven remaining games against those teams in August, then splitting the September games.

Far fetched? The Orioles since 1998 have had eight out of 13 September/October records better than 10-17. Three including last year were winning records. So going 0-7 against the AL East in August, then going 10-10 in September isn't so outlandish.

And if the Orioles go 10-17 against the AL East, they would need to go 6-5 in their other remaining games to finish with less than 100 losses. And seven of those 11 games are in September as well.

Easy? No. Likely? Probably not.

However, there is nothing difficult for the Orioles to maintain their current level of ineptness. Becoming better is more difficult. Becoming better than your opponents are even more so. It would be like a former local tennis pro taking on a hall of fame athlete in 1-on-1 hoops when giving up eight inches and five years to boot.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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