TAMPA - A three-city road trip for the Orioles has been filled with bumps and potholes and strange detours.
They were swept in Toronto and lost two of three in St. Petersburg. They flew to Boston last night unsure whether center fielder Adam Jones would be in the lineup tomorrow night because of a sore right wrist. The rotation no longer can crank out quality starts and the offense is challenged to crank out more than a few runs.
The Orioles have scored 20 runs in their last eight games, an average of 2.5.
And don’t get me started on the defense.
OK, I started. The Orioles have committed 51 errors in 54 games, tying them with the Giants for the most in the majors. If they finish at a rate of .94 errors per game, it will be their highest since 1959, when they committed .95 errors per game in a 155-game season.
If you’re not going to pitch and you’re not going to hit and you’re not going to field, you’re not going to win. I’m not sure if Casey Stengel said that, or anyone with half a brain.
Jones’ 18 errors since 2010 are eight more than any other American League center fielder - though I’ll also point out that he routinely runs down balls that would elude others. B.J. Upton, who’s been known to forget the number of outs or that a game is being played, is second with 10.
The Orioles have committed at least three errors in six games this season. No other AL team has done it more than once.
Manager Buck Showalter noted that part of the problem lies with having certain players moved to less familiar positions. However, that doesn’t explain Jones’ fourth throwing error of the season yesterday or Matt Wieters’ sixth error, the most he’s accumulated in a single season.
It could, however, explain why Wilson Betemit looked so out of place in left field in Toronto, or why Steve Tolleson wasn’t in the proper position to cut off Endy Chavez’s throw yesterday that allowed a runner to advance to second base.
Jake Arrieta should know to back up third base, but he’s got a lot on his mind these days, like wondering why he no longer can complete six innings.
Zach Britton is supposed to continue his injury-rehab assignment on Tuesday. If that’s the case, he won’t be taking Arrieta’s next turn. For now, it appears that Arrieta will be taking Arrieta’s next turn.
How much longer before Miguel Tejada’s contract is purchased? Would anyone be surprised to find him at third base relatively soon?
If Jones is sidelined, does Chavez move to center field, with guys like Betemit, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty handling the outfield corners?
Does Lew Ford return to the majors for the first time since 2007? It would be easier to recall Xavier Avery, who’s on the 40-man roster, but don’t discount Sweet Lew.
The Orioles have lost four consecutive series after going 7-1-1 in their previous nine. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and nine of 13. They’re only one game out of first place in the American League East, but they can touch last place without bending all the way. Their entire starting outfield has health issues.
“It’s tough, but every team goes through it. We’re just having ours right now,” said Mark Reynolds, who has become the regular first baseman since returning from the disabled list. “Hopefully, we can get out of here, go to Boston and win a series and get back home in front of our crowds.
“You play 162 of these things and this is just six, seven games out of 162. It’s not really that big of a deal when you think about it. We’re going to get out of here, go to Boston for a day off, go and regroup and hopefully play some good baseball up there.”
That means better pitching, better hitting and better defense.
Not much to ask, right?