Four days ago, Comrade Roth shared the ribald tale of the Baltimore Orioles as their pursuit of failure had taken them below the Arizona Diamondbacks and into an exciting new baseball nethersuburb. Well, wouldn’t it just figure that in doing so, Roth would jinx them.
To be clear, the Orioles haven’t won any games since then. A team so determined to achieve a lack of achievement cannot be derailed by a mere Roth-O-Gram. But Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves marked the first of their 17 consecutive defeats that came by the margin of a single run. In other words, the simple law of big numbers may be catching up with the O’s, and they might trip over an actual win any day now. While they may still exceed their own record for extended futility of 21 set in 1988, they can see light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t a gigantic thresher.
The Orioles’ devotion to duty is admirable. But to be a true champion of failure, their work is not yet done, and yesterday’s near-win is a worrisome trend that first reared its ugly head Friday, when they only lost 3-0 to the Braves. Before then, they were losing by an average of six runs per game, and no bullpen in the world can get blamed for that.
As they improve, though, the 21-game losing streak is still gettable, but only if the Orioles can remember what got them here: the combination of not scoring and aggressively allowing. The four runs they managed on Saturday is the third-highest total they have scored during the streak, and the five they allowed is the second-lowest they have surrendered. This is trending the wrong way on every level, and their best pitcher, the much-accursed John Means, goes Sunday in what can only be considered as their best and therefore worst chance to ruin the whole point of being so bad.
The monument that proves it.
The Orioles will have three games each against the Angels and Rays before they return to the road, so there is much under- and non-achievement still to complete if they are to be truly memorable, so this competitive crap has to stop. You never know when one-run losses can become one-run wins, and at this point, having passed the D-Backs for Best Joke Told The Same Way this season, they are too close to start respecting themselves now. Roth is pot-committed. Come to think of it, we all are. This must not end until we are good and ready to let it end.