Baltimore. The Orioles have lost five in a row, are alone in last place in the AL East, and the guy who ought to be their clubhouse leader, Melvin Mora, had to be restrained from going after teammate Jay Payton on Monday. It's not too hard to figure out the source of Baltimore's present frustration. They have almost an entire major league rotation, and a pretty good one at that, on the disabled list. Kris Benson, Adam Loewen, Jaret Wright, and Hayden Penn are all out with injuries. Even if all of those guys were healthy, Baltimore has been counting on their young pitching to suddenly emerge for like four or five years now. Maybe it's time for a different strategy. And while it can be crippling to lose so many starting pitchers, the O's don't have a very good offense (11th in the AL in OPS and 12th in slugging) or a very good bullpen (11th in ERA).
It's funny, ask anybody in the organization, and they'll tell you all the pieces are in place. Virtually any impartial baseball insider, however, will tell you it's a hopeless cause until Peter Angelos does us all a favor and dies. Baltimore is spending more than twice as much as the Rockies to be just as bad, if that serves as any consolation. As much trouble as the Yankees have had early on this year, they have to be feeling pretty good about all the series they have left against Baltimore, the similarly injury-riddled Blue Jays, and the yet still pitching-deficient D-Rays.