The Orioles have officially made it to Memorial Day, which is the unofficial, first-review point of the Major League Baseball season.
Because a third of the season – 54 games – are usually completed by now, Memorial Day is kind of an unspoken time for teams to start looking deeply at their rosters.
This year, it wasn’t even unspoken. Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette specifically mentioned Memorial Day earlier this season when asked about when this club consider who it is and what it would be.
And, on this Memorial Day, the Orioles did what they do in 2018 – lost in a lifeless, ho-hum manner, 6-0 to the Washington Nationals in a stadium that was roughly equal parts orange and red.
Thankfully and mercifully, the Orioles showed Monday that the first 53 games of this year weren’t a fluke.
This is a bad team in plenty of ways. Not much roster reviewing needed here.
Right-hander Alex Cobb, the Orioles’ big offseason acquisition, fell to 1-7 after allowing three runs – all on an Anthony Rendon homer – in seven innings. That performance should be solid enough to win, except the Orioles’ offense continued its mostly season-long holiday.
They were blanked by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and have now strung together 17 consecutive innings without scoring a run. Terrible. Again.
“We want to win ballgames, not on a personal level. It’s just more the team overall. We’re trying to win games out here every night. That’s not what’s happening,” said Cobb, whose ERA dropped to 6.80. “There’s more that we can do as pitchers in picking up the offense when they have tough nights. Collectively, as a team, we’re clicking on different cylinders.”
The only good thing about the Orioles being 17-37 after play on Memorial Day afternoon is that they are not leaving the competitive door open, even a crack.
They are 20 games under .500 – they haven’t been that terrible since the end of 2011.
They are now 20 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East and it’s MEMORIAL DAY.
The Orioles finished in last place in 2017, and were only 18 games behind the first-place Red Sox at season’s end.
Consider this: Since the Orioles were 29-25 through 54 games in 2017 – one-third of last season – they are 63-99.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he’s never really thought about Memorial Day as a significant marker. He evaluates this team daily and there’s one conclusion.
“I don’t listen to a lot of that stuff that says, ‘Hey, by this day it’s 100 percent exactly what this is going to be.’ There’s too much of the human element here,” Showalter said. “I’m always evaluating kind of where we are and where we have the potential to head. Just gotta get better. I think our guys know that. It’s very frustrating for them right now and I’m sure for everybody, including the fans.”
The real frustration will be if this team – for some reason – is kept together all year.
We all know it. Showalter knows it. Duquette knows it. Perhaps this isn’t the exact time to execute the full blow-up. But it’s time to know that a significant sale must occur in July, when other clubs are ready to deal. Then the Orioles need to sell whatever won’t be a part of the extended future.
A third of the season is over. It’s Memorial Day.
It’s time to bury the Orioles’ 2018 season and begin building real plans for the future.