There is no other way to put it, 2011 has been a colossal failure. Virtually everything the Orioles attempted has blown up in their faces leaving the fanbase with nothing but bitterness, and looming questions about the immediate future of this club.
The young pitching: Disaster.
Every pitcher that the Orioles have trotted out to the mound this year has either regressed, struggled, or become injured in some way. The 2011 Orioles picked up Jojo Reyes off of the waiver wire to start for them because at this point they just need fresh meat to throw into the grinder. Britton: injured; Arrieta: Bone spur; Bergesen: injured, Matusz: injured, ineffective, sent down; Tillman: maddeningly ineffective. Add all that up and you get the current disaster we see now. The Orioles seem to be stretching out Jim Johnson to throw him into the starting rotation. Just thinking about that concept proves how horrendous that starting pitching has been. If the Orioles themselves are willing to thin out an already gossamer thin bullpen corps to have a somewhat reliable arm in an experimental run for the last 25% of a death spiral of a season is proof enough that we are out of ideas and are running out the string.
Why not all up one of the budding younger pitchers?
Why in the names of the pagan baseball Gods would we want to subject pitchers like Oliver Drake or Bobby Bundy to this? This current season is like an entity, a poltergeist, the stink from this Summer sill take months to wash off. Its like Seinfeld's car.
It really is amazing how far the Orioles have fallen. No one, no matter how negative, thought that this was remotely possible. Well unless we had a mess of injuries and the entire team took a collective step backwards - ::cough::. People may have been against the Kevin Gregg and Vlad signings, but this bad? THIS BAD? Of course some stats guys have already chimed in stating how they predicted it. Vlad I will give them, but not Gregg. Yes the Orioles paid way too much for a "closer". it was a waste of money, it was a waste of resources and Gregg did not deserve the money and many predicted he would not live up to the contract. But THIS BAD?!
That is basically the mantra of this season. How could this team be this bad? Nick Markakis, how could he be that bad for a couple months? Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters' power, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Berken, Derrek Lee, Felix Pie - how could they all be that bad? How could a buck Showalter team be that bad?
JJ Hardy, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds have been the only uplifting portions of this dreadful season. But its kind of like saying at least the tornado spared the sock drawer.
The Orioles will march on to the end of the season like good soldiers and take what little joy they can over the course of the last month. Thankfully the Orioles will likely qualify for at least the second pick in next year's draft. Early reports are expecting next year's draft to be very thin so having a high pick will do a lot to bolster a thin organization.
Andy MacPhail may not be back next year, Peter Angelos will. Buck Showalter will still be the manager and barring some major acquisitions this team will be coming back largely the same as it was. Now, the Orioles could pull a Cleveland or a Pittsburgh and simply just play better next year anything is possible, no matter how improbable it may seem right now.