OK, it’s gut check time in Baltimore.
Two nights…two home losses to the Rays.
And Oakland is coming to town this weekend.
Then, it’s off to Boston and New York.
The Orioles might literally eliminate themselves from the post-season by this time next week if they’re not careful.
I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m also smart enough to know that one of these bad runs where you drop 7 of 10 can put you so far behind the 8-ball that you just can’t make up enough ground in the final 30 games of the season.
As I often say: “The hardest thing to do in sports is to stop losing…”
That’s why tonight’s game becomes ultra important. With Oakland coming in, the Birds simply can’t afford another loss to the Rays. Not now. Not tonight in Baltimore.
There’s not much to say about Tuesday night’s affair except the game was there for the taking, even with only four hits through eight innings of baseball. Tampa Bay blew it open with four runs in the top of the 9th, taking a 3-2 squeaker and turning it into a half-a-romp. Only a Matt Wieters homer in the 9th inning created a momentary sense of excitement.
Jim Johnson wasn’t very good on Tuesday night. True, it wasn’t a closer situation, but a bases-loaded-with-one-out-double-play-ball saved him from a sound beating in the top of the 9th.
Yesterday I wrote that Tuesday’s game was “almost-must-win” territory.
That means tonight is “you-gotta-win” territory.
Still not MUST win…but awfully, awfully close.
Everyone knows the Ryan Dempster “suspension” is a joke.
He doesn’t even miss a start.
He’s not actually suspended.
It’s more like detention.
As long as baseball allows these idiots to throw baseballs at each other, the message — the proper one, anyway — will never be sent.
By not sitting Dempster for fifteen games (which would turn out to probably be two starts with Boston’s August/September schedule), you’ve basically said, “We have to do something just to show we’re actually awake and paying attention, but we’re not going to affect the pennant race by sitting you out.”
What if A-Rod takes one in the shoulder and can’t play for ten games?
Wouldn’t that affect New York’s playoff chances?
Anyway, baseball sucks. They know it, too. They’ve lost so much control of their game over the last decade, they don’t know where to start in terms of fixing it.
The players are creeps, too.
Ryan Dempster proved that on Sunday night.
There’s a bubbling story involving the Orioles that will completely boil over in the next two weeks if they continue to stink.
When the Orioles decided not to move their game on September 5th to accomodate the Ravens and their planned home opener to celebrate the Super Bowl win, one of their easy fall-back considerations – and rightfully so – was “we plan on being in the pennant race on September 5th and we’re not going to intentionally schedule a doubleheader and tax our pitching staff…”
I agreed – back then – that it’s not the Orioles responsibility to make sure the NFL’s season opener gets kicked off the way the NFL wants it to get kicked off.
We all know what the solution to that fiasco was — the NFL should have opened their season in Baltimore on Wednesday, September 4.
Alas, they didn’t take that path and they put all the pressure on the Orioles to “do the right thing”.
Anyway, if the Orioles continue to struggle over the next two weeks, September 5th is going to roll around and that White Sox series is going to be nothing more than something for fantasy baseball junkies to watch.
If that happens, the Birds are going to get shredded in town…especially if the Ravens go to Denver and get clobbered on opening night (which, honestly, I don’t think will happen — but I’m just saying “if” that happens).
Watch and see.