Were this a normal season, the Orioles slipping below .500 in the 25th game of the season wouldn’t be a storyline.
But in a 60-game season, a year that began with stellar pitching, a bullpen put together enough and passable starting pitching, nothing has been normal — especially with creeping thoughts of, no matter how far-fetched, playoff contention creeping in. And through the first 25 games, the Orioles have been as up and down as any team in the league.
Thursday was perhaps the lowest point of the season. The Orioles, after a 7-1 loss to the Red Sox at Camden Yards, fell below .500 for the first time since Aug. 7. It was the team’s fifth loss in a row and fifth loss in six games.
With still more than half the season to play, the Orioles' season is still in question. But the strong pitching and offense that carried the team on its six game winning streak just over a week ago has, for now, all but disappeared.
“Just a little rough patch,” Orioles starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski said. “I wanted to come out and have a good, quality start and get us back on track. Wasn’t able to do that. We’ve just got to flush it and show up ready to play tomorrow and keep on grinding.”
Wojciechowski appeared to have caught a break early in Thursday’s game, when right fielder Anthony Santander leaped at the wall and caught a fly ball which prevented one, and likely two, Red Sox runs from scoring.
The offense, however, never came through as a Mitch Moreland three-run blast in the ninth all but sealed a Red Sox win.
Since the Orioles beat the Nationals on Saturday, they’ve allowed 6.6 runs per game and have scored just 3.4 per game. They’ve slipped into fourth place in the division, only above the 8-18 Red Sox.
The Orioles weren’t expected to pull off a competitive season before the year began, but the first third of the season proved, at the very least, they were a spunky, hard-working group. And as they began to win, expectations slowly rose.
Nothing is normal in the 2020 season, meaning a turnaround certainly isn’t out of the question. But now, the Orioles will have to rekindle that same magic they had at the start of the season.
“It’s all about winning in this game, no matter how you do it, you want to have a ‘W’ at the end of the night,” Wojciechowski said. “Losing is never fun. You’ve just got to keep on pushing and try to find the positives in what happened these last few games and move forward and keep on trying to get better. And things will turn around.”