Last season when Dave Trembley was fired and Juan Samuel took over, I argued (an argument that was met with much criticism from our morning show hosts) that the O’s had a chance at a new beginning.
They were stuck in a rut. The trend couldn’t be bucked.
I’m a big believer in a changed variable being a potential spark that pushes a group of people or a team forward and out of their fixed ways. While I was wrong about the Samuel hire being much of a jolt, even though the team did play a tiny bit better under his leadership, that theory was proven right a little over a month later when Buck Showalter led one of the worst teams in baseball to a 34-23 clip to end the season.
In 2011, things seemed to be rolling along fairly okay during the first two months. The games were close, the team was respectable, and the fans still somewhat cared. Then came the annual June swoon and July tailspin, and now the Orioles are staring down the barrel of a totally lost season here in the middle of July.
The All-Star break came at a great time for the O’s. In the games leading up to the break, Buck Showalter talked often about just needing to get to the break for an opportunity to regroup.
With three games off, Showalter could have come back with a new something. New lineup, new rotation, new bullpen roles, new left fielder…anything. He changed the lineup a bit, but nothing too dramatic. (Vlad was hurt, so we’ll see if he hits cleanup when he comes back)
Even without any earth-shattering changes, the O’s had a chance for quick fresh start. It wouldn’t be out of the question for them to regroup and come out for the second half with renewed energy, confidence, and purpose. Jeremy Guthrie, the O’s best, most consistent pitcher over the past few seasons, was on the mound. They returned home for a long home-stand against a good but not unbeatable team.
If the O’s were going to make one final, last-ditch run, this was going to be the time to do it.
I wasn’t home in time for the first pitch Thursday night, but I have “ESPN ScoreCenter” on my iPhone. The game started at 7:05. By 7:11, the Orioles were down 3-0.
Same story. Bad pitching. Getting down early. Having to adjust how they hit because they are down in such a big hole.
Nothing changed. Nothing.
Three days off. No difference.
Any slight renewed interest that fans may have had after a three day relief from O’s baseball was crushed after six minutes. Seriously…six minutes.
It’s a new half of Orioles baseball, but the same old Birds showed up. The same Birds that have been showing up for 14 years.