From bad to worse

I'm running a little late this morning (I always blame the kid.)

These West Coast games are killing me. They're not doing the Orioles much good, either.

The record is abysmal, but I had plenty of concerns before the season began. The schedule is absolutely brutal, and this team has issues. It was a combustible combination, and it's blown up in their faces.

I don't ask for much in this world, but I expect my players to run out ground balls and bust their tails no matter the score or record. And I don't mean false hustle. I don't need the eye-wash. We're still in the first month of the season, the paychecks are fat and the fan base is beyond frustrated. Show me that you care as much as everyone else.

Tough one-run losses are hard to swallow. Going through the motions and ignoring the most basic of fundamentals make me gag.

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I was a little groggy last night, but two images jump out at me: Julio Lugo's power-walk to first base and Ty Wigginton having to drop anchor at second base after his leadoff double in the sixth because nobody - and I mean nobody - could advance him to third, let alone come up with the game-tying RBI.

I'm not handing my keys to anyone on this team after a night of heavy drinking. Who can I trust to drive me home?

Maybe it was too much to expect Nick Markakis to get the bunt sign after Wigginton moved into scoring position. He's your No. 3 hitter, and supposedly one of your RBI guys. But I also remember walking past that outdoor cage in spring training and seeing Markakis participating in the daily bunt drills.

First base coach T-Bone Shelby told Markakis that he probably wouldn't be asked to bunt very often, but it's still an important skill. Everyone entered that cage, grabbed a bat and squared up.

It's gotten so bad, I would have stood and applauded a ground ball to the right side.

With the Orioles treating every pitcher like Cy Young, including guys with names that make you scramble for a roster, the fundamentals really become important. They have to find ways to manufacture runs. Waiting for the three-run homer worked with Earl Weaver in the dugout, but he wasn't managing this team.

If he was, Lugo still might be carrying part of his bat. Just not in his hand.

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