The famous Dutch story of the 1800s – The Silver Skates – contains the account of a boy who saved the city by plugging a hole in the dike overnight. The Orioles have had an unbelievable number of holes and hole pluggers. At some point, there just aren’t enough qualified people remaining to fill the leaks and prevent a collapse.
Illustrative of the extent of this problem is the fact that it is easier to list those who are remaining rather than those who are now gone, or been gone for extended times. Besides, we are all sick of rehearsing the litany of injuries and physical disasters.
Still standing from the beginning of the season is but one of the five starting pitchers – Wei-Yin Chen. Of the eight position players, the only having been free of injury and avoiding the DL are Jones, Hardy, and Wieters. More of the relievers remain, and they have obviously been the strength of the team. Since the opening day, the Birds have retained Ayala, Strop, Gregg, O’Day, Patton, and Johnson (though he also had that brief food poisoning incident). Adding in bench player Ryan Flaherty, only 11 of the 25 on the opening day roster have been available the entire season. As Buck Showalter often rightly states, “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you,” yet it is simply true that this is not normal.
This roster meltdown, and the resultant piling up of losses, is predictably discouraging for Orioles fans. Hey, I’d rather be blogging about the winning ways of that team and roster we saw in the first five weeks of the season! Being a baseball junkie, I am able to enjoy seeing the variety of players, but having to replace 14+ people is not going to yield a year-end success for a club most people predicted (without those losses) to be among the dregs of the league.
Baseball is a game of percentages. Sometimes the Texas-leaguer pop-ups drop in, your own line drives are hit repeatedly at the head of the infielders, and a hit ball misses the foul line by an inch while the opponent’s ground ball hits the bag at second for a two-RBI infield single (both happened in the 3rd inning against the Twins on Monday night). And sometimes injuries pile up inordinately.
But justice and statistics prevail over the long period of time. There will be a better day. More players in the organization are getting a chance to play, and the team is getting the opportunity to evaluate them. Someday we won’t be seeing four or five players in the lineup out of their preferred position, covering for someone else on the DL