Peter Schmuck: Well, at least the Orioles picked the right time to lose five in a row -
Peter Schmuck

Peter Schmuck: Well, at least the Orioles picked the right time to lose five in a row

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports


The Orioles have been so good over the past two years that their five-game losing streak has got a lot of us wondering what exactly is going on.

Is it the injury riddled starting rotation? The exhausting month of games with just one offday? The suddenly inconsistent offensive performance? All of the above?

Or is it just what happens during the course of a marathon season, and the fact that the Orioles haven’t had a losing streak this long for a very long time is really the thing that is unusual.


I’ll let all of you decide, but I think there is one thing that we can all agree on. The Orioles certainly have dropped this lousy week exactly at the right juncture in this otherwise thrilling season.

This could have been a span in which the first-place Yankees put some real distance between them and the team that has won both its head-to-head series against them during the first half. Instead, the Yankees also have floundered and have gained just 1 ½ games over their closest divisional contender during the week since the Orioles took two of three games at Yankee Stadium.

Over the past 10 games of each team, the Orioles have actually gained a half-game on the Yankees, who are bemoaning Tuesday night’s awful performance by starting pitcher Gerritt Cole and wasting a late-inning grand slam by Aaron Judge during their second straight galling loss to the Mets.

Cole, who pitched four so-so innings against the Orioles in his first start of the season, allowed four home runs on Tuesday and currently has a 9.00 earned-run average. If that isn’t disturbing enough for the Yankees (but not anyone else, of course), their bullpen is a mess and they just put slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list, taking away much of Judge’s protection in the middle of the lineup.

The real beneficiary of all this is in Boston. The Red Sox, who are not supposed to be a playoff team this year, have quietly built a very respectable 43-37 record and gained four games on the O’s in the wild-card standings with an 8-2 run in their last 10 games.

I’m not terribly worried about them, but the Orioles do need to snap out of this sooner rather than later. They flexed their offensive might on Tuesday night after scoring just four runs in the previous three games, but they did that against a struggling Cleveland Guardians starter on a night when Cole Irvin struggled just as badly.

They were both unlucky and not good. The throwing error by the usually dependable James McCann contributed mightily to a five-run rally that allowed the Guardians (who are named after a bridge, for God’s sake) to stave off a four-homer night by Gunnar Henderson and the gang that usually shoots straight.

I will also take this opportunity to ask why Irvin was pitching to José Ramírez with first base open in that inning. I get so few opportunities to second-guess the terrific coaching staff that I can’t resist this one. Cole had already taken more hard contact than Hasim Rahman in his rematch with Lennox Lewis, and there really is no place around the plate that is safe with Ramírez up there.

The next sound you heard was a very loud crack and not the funny kind.

Hopefully, Grayson Rodriguez will be able to bounce back tonight from a similarly scary performance and get this team back in the win column.

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