Baltimore Orioles: Should’ve, Could’ve


Some losses are more painful than others, and the last two Orioles defeats are in that category.

The Birds dropped a 2-1 game to the Rays last evening, and two nights before lost an 11-7 contest to the cellar-dwelling Astros.

When your starter takes you into the 7thinning with a shutout in the works, even if he does allow two runs on a single and homer, and when the bullpen comes in and does its job, it is a game you should win. Likewise, when your team scores seven runs on 13 hits with two homers, it is a game you like your chances to finish on top.

Jun 7, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) talks with left fielder Nate McLouth (9) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

However, when you only get two base hits in the game where your pitcher makes one fatal mistake, you probably don’t deserve to win. And likewise again, when your starter and long reliever give up six homers in the first four innings, it is not a game you should reasonably expect to triumph.

Baseball is a funny game … where would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve are not always fair. Just about the time your team finally gets a quality start, the bats fall asleep.

One of my categorically painful memories of the pre-2012 Orioles is the way they would so often hit well on days the pitchers stunk up the place, while likewise being unable to generate much offense when the thrower put together a good game.

Maybe we got spoiled by the 2012 Orioles. It is probably fair to say that the Orioles won an extraordinary number of games last year that they maybe should’ve (or at a minimum certainly could’ve) lost. Now hear me – that is not the same thing as saying they were lucky! Nope! The bullpen in particular earned it for them time after time.

This year of 2013 is not the same. It strikes me that this team – while still demonstrating the character and talent to come back and win games that they maybe should’ve lost – is also losing more that they should’ve / could’ve won. The multiple blown saves particularly stand out, along with some recent games as I illustrated above.

The Orioles are currently behind pace to win as many as last year. But with 101 games yet to play, the good news is that they are right in the thick of things in the powerful AL East. And honestly, none of this is terribly surprising.

I actually believe this Orioles club to be better than last year. Certainly the offence is much improved, but, well, here we are back at the central idea, the pitching has thus far been worse. I’ll add quickly that I believe this is going to be corrected, and that the outcome might be something special.