These Orioles may not panic, but a sense of urgency would be welcomed with 20 games left - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

These Orioles may not panic, but a sense of urgency would be welcomed with 20 games left

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

One of the impressive things about the Buck Showalter Era Orioles is that they don’t panic.

The manager continually preaches taking each game as it comes, and his players have followed that mantra. So, when things go badly, the Orioles usually find a way to break free. And when they are on a winning streak, they don’t lose touch of reality, understanding that adversity could be around the corner.

Some of that is Showalter; some of that is the veteran group that has grown up together, players such as Adam Jones, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton.

In a sense, this current team is the epitome of that “not too high or too low” philosophy. In another sense, this team has taken that mantra too literally. This season has been marred by an inconsistency that is impossible to explain.

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They hit and can’t pitch. The pitching gets better and the hitting collapses, like this weekend in Cleveland, where they’ve lost 2-0 and 4-2.

The Orioles started the season 22-10 and then plummeted, going 12-16 in May, 12-16 in June and 12-14 in July before an out-of-nowhere 17-12 August.

Just when you expect their year is over, these Orioles rally. After a lackluster West Coast trip and subsequent homestand, the Orioles put together a seven-game win streak to be within a whisker of the AL Wild Card’s second spot on Aug. 30.

Since then?

They’ve gone 3-6, and are being leapfrogged again by other pseudo-contenders. They are sitting at 71-71, have lost four of five and may get swept Sunday night in Cleveland.

How difficult is this nationally televised, Sunday night assignment?

Well, the Indians have won 17 consecutive games and are attempting to catch the 2002 Oakland Athletics, who won 20 in a row.

The Indians send right-hander Trevor Bauer to the mound Sunday. Bauer, who was taken third overall — a spot ahead of Dylan Bundy — in the 2011 amateur draft, has won eight consecutive decisions in his last 10 tries.

The Orioles counter with Jeremy Hellickson, who sports a 6.87 ERA in his seven starts since being acquired in a late July trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Let’s just say the odds aren’t with the Orioles on Sunday night.

Now, we all know it’s baseball. And anything can happen.

And it’s baseball played by the 2017 Orioles, who keep zigging when they are supposed to zag,

There’s only 20 games remaining in their season. It seems like only a matter of time before the dirt is pulled up around them, to paraphrase Showalter.

They could surprise again, of course. But they are back to their old tricks. While the pitching has been OK the last two games in Cleveland, the Orioles’ offense has scored two runs – three in their last three games (including a 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday).

Oh, and they just happen to be facing the hottest team in 16 years on Sunday night.

Yes, this team doesn’t panic.

But it’d be nice if the Orioles showed a little urgency as time runs out on a frustrating 2017.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Tessiebird

    September 10, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Why would they panic?…..their paycheck are sure..their ungodly paychecks are sure…I am speaking specifically about Chris Davis….he was so overrated when they signed him to a 4 year deal….Adam does earn his paycheck….he does care…but Davis is possibly the most reckless over paid hitter I have seen….how many strikeouts this year, just by looking!…can see the ball?…he is supposed to be a professional…..one thing I have noticed over the years is when a contract is getting ready to come up, the player really excels in his performance….as soon as the contract is inked, they get very complacent and it shows in their batting average…I am curious IF we sign Manny next year, how his performance will be at the plate…he already does not run out fly balls or infield hits.. I have watched him hit ‘what he thought would be a home run and jog to first only to find out it missed and then he hustles and only gets a double….that would be a worrisome thing for me if I was Buck ….Adam does hustle, as does Jonathan, and I cannot say enough of positive things about Trey Mancini, although he is a rookie and is trying to prove himself worthy of a nice contract when he is eligible…the pitcher all act like they are in a state of mental depression….I see them go to other teams and excell…ouch…and that really hurts…just my frustrated two cents….Yet I am still an Oriole Lover…..Go O’s !

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      This is a common sentiment. And I will tell you I’m around these guys and almost all care deeply. More than you and I do. It’s why they do what they do. And they take pride in it. But I think sometimes their frustration makes it look otherwise.

      • MumboTrumbo

        September 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        Actions speak louder than words. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists or expert baseball follower to see and compare relative effort of base runners. I agree with Tessiebird as it relates to “going the extra mile” and not assuming anything about the destiny of a hit when it comes to running your butt off to maximize your bases. Now maybe the veterans are coached that way; and the rookies ignore such coaching to prove their value.

    • MumboTrumbo

      September 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Yeah, all of that has struck me as curious as well. Not just with the Orioles, but players around the league. I don’t want to question people’s motives; but money does funny things to people’s MO. I’d like to think the love of the game would suffice, with a payday being icing on the cake. But, I wasn’t born yesterday.

  2. ATCguy

    September 10, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Yeah, they may not panic, but they sure do choke.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Fair enough.

    • Paul Folkemer

      September 10, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      What do you mean by “choke”? I don’t understand this sentiment. The Orioles have never had any significant lead in the division or the wild card race (unless you want to go back to May), so they really haven’t had anything to choke away. They’ve played sub-.500 ball all year since their 22-10 start.

      The Orioles are playing exactly the same way now as they have almost all season. That’s not a choke. Just consistent mediocrity.

      • MumboTrumbo

        September 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        They choke when they get near the line of playoff baseball. See August.

        • Paul Folkemer

          September 10, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          Playing poorly is not the same thing as choking. I don’t see any evidence that they’re mentally weak or can’t handle the pressure of September. They just don’t have good enough starting pitching to stay in contention.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            September 10, 2017 at 5:36 pm

            Paul … this is just a question … don’t read anything into it, but are you an Orioles fan?

  3. Orial

    September 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Dan you may be to something. The “Hi Hum” attitude is good for their collective blood pressure and Jones,Manny,Schoop with the pies etc. may spice it up but yes some intensity might be in order. I watch Lindor round the bases screaming and hollering and think “how cool”. It is a comatose unit.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      They have their own moments. And, again, a calm demeanor isn’t a bad thing. But it doesn’t always look great.

  4. Osfan73

    September 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Buck has a tendency to stick with his regulars and/or favorites as far as the lineup goes. The players know this and I think get ‘too comfortable’ as it were. IMO Buck should shake things up more than he does. Players have to know there are consequences, if that’s the right word, for not performing consistently to their abilities. Im not saying they aren’t prepared or aren’t trying, just that change can be beneficial when necessary.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 10, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I’m tempted to say it’s football season. Oh wait …

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Yeah, wait. This is still BBaseball.com

  6. c Soprano

    September 10, 2017 at 10:15 am

    ” This season has been marred by an inconsistency that is impossible to explain.”

    Not really, we are a mediocre team.
    A.L. Ranks
    Offense 6th
    Defense 11th
    Pitching 11th

    We have two good players who are carrying us to overachieve really. Best thing to do going forward is to pull the plug on Trumbo/Davis as full time players.

    C Beef
    1b Trey
    2b Jon
    3b Manny
    SS Beck
    LF Smith
    CF Jones
    RF Hays
    DH Chance

    Cross fingers & hope offense can outpace terrible pitching the next 20 games. Need to go 14-6.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      You can’t take Davis and Trumbo consistently out of the lineup. Especially Davis at first. That glove is exceptionally important.

      • MumboTrumbo

        September 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

        I thought Mancini did quite well at first, albeit it was a short-lived opportunity. I watched Davis at Frederick during his injury period and he seemed to master looking strike-outs there as well.

  7. GSISDANNO

    September 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

    The Orioles have been a very flawed team since the start of the season. Their offense is one dimensional and their starting pitching has been awful. It is amazing to me that they have contended as long as they have. It shows what a good manager they have. When they went 3-4 against the Yankees and the Jays on the last home stand, I realized it was over. The three games they did win in those two series were all walkoffs and two required extraordinary comebacks. Until the starting pitching gets better, the Orioles are not going to the post season.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Makes sense. But they’ve been on the doorstep because all of these teams are flawed. Someone has to make it.

  8. Craig417

    September 10, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Give it up! The O’s are going no where. If the O’s. are lucky enough to win 13 of the last 20 games (.650) then the Twins would only have to win 10 is 20 (.500). If you like the O’s chance I suggest you look at the number of times the birds have been able to play .650 baseball over a 20 game span. It’s not going to happen! All the hype that they still have a legitimate chance is only to put butts in seats. Home runs are exciting to watch until you must count on four baggers to get to the playoff. It takes consistent pitching and sometimes boring singles to win pennants

    • Dan Connolly

      September 10, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      They were a game out of the Wild Card a week ago. That’s fact. Not hype. Fact.

  9. Craig417

    September 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Yes, I agree they were one game out a week ago and then the next week they did what? One week good next week not so good. Hype should begin with one week when the birds can not follow up with a second good week.

    • Craig417

      September 11, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Can I panic now?? Just called up 5 losses in a row.

    • Craig417

      September 12, 2017 at 7:26 am

      Good news the Os are now 1/2 game from catching up to the Rays

  10. Jim-Considine

    September 11, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Last night reminded me of the series we played in Cleveland following Cal Ripken setting the 2131 record. Game # 2132 saw Indian’s Eddie Murray exchanging lineups with Cal. Cal received a 2 minute standing ovation. That is a long time, despite the 20 minute standing ovation he received in Baltimore.
    Once the fame began, it was all about the Tribe at “the Jake.” Cleveland clinched the AL Central title with a victory over Baltimore. This was the first baseball championship since 1954. The fans were delirious.
    The Tribe clobbered a bad Oriole team the next day. They swept the series.
    On Sunday, we attended the Buccaneers vs. Browns game at “the mistake by the lake”. The weather had been glorious

  11. Jim-Considine

    September 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    ooops … the weather had been glorious all weekend. Baltimore was insufferably hot & humid. The football game got the nickname “the ugly uniform bowl”. The Browns were defeated by the Steelers in Round 2 of the playoffs. Hope was high for the 1995 season. Cleveland was rocking as the R&R Hall of Fame also opened that weekend.
    This was the last home game before Mark Viviano, a former reporter in Dayton, would break the story that the Browns were moving to Baltimore.

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