It has not been a good week for the Baltimore Orioles, as they have struggled in interleague play, losing two out of three games to the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Much like the Orioles, the Pirates and Nationals have been your traditional bottom-feeders recently; however, they have improved greatly this season. They are not seen as contenders, but they are no longer doormats, either.
That same notion can be also applied to the Orioles. A lot of people at the start of the season though they could perhaps have an outside shot at winning more than they lost and finishing ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays.
As the month of July approaches, the Orioles are still mired in last place in the American League East.
That is a position they have gotten used to for way too long. At this point, although the team is far and away a lot better than it was last year, I do not sense any happiness over the situation with fans.
With that being said, one could say the Orioles are way too talented, even with the young pitching and injuries, to be six games under .500.
They are still making silly mistakes from time to time and yes, the offense is so inconsistent.
Are the Orioles what we thought they were?
I still project the Orioles to win between 75-78 games. However, it is particularly disconcerting to see the offense still struggle, especially considering the additions made.
Derrek Lee had been scuffling at the plate seemingly all season and has recently gotten hot; meanwhile, fans know what they have gotten out of Mark Reynolds so far - offensively and defensively - and Vladimir Guerrero has been suitable at the plate, but has not hit with power.
Nick Markakis looks to be breaking out of his long, extended slump to start the season and Brian Roberts is still on the shelf. In spite of everything, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy have been playing extremely well and have been solid this season.
The Orioles' offense has struggled and the starting pitching has had bouts of inconsistency. At this point, they were expected to hit some rough patches, especially as the season goes on and the pressure builds on the young arms.
Right now, the Orioles are extraordinarily lucky to not be worse than their record indicates. I know fans expect more - and I do, too - however, I am satisfied with the team for the time being. I do not think they will have a winning season, unless they go on a nice extended run and play with a lot more consistency.
In the end, anything else is possible at this point for the Orioles. They just have to do the little on the mound, at the plate, beat up on teams that they should, and keep making the most of scoring opportunities.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.