Backs against the wall

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It's still a little too soon to write the Orioles eulogy for the 2013 season. Not that a rough draft would be a bad idea.

Always be prepared.

The Orioles needed to take three of four from the Rays at the very least. Losing three of four or being swept was the equivalent of sticking a fork in a light socket. Or in the Orioles.

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. The offense has completely shut down, another collective slump like the kind we saw last year in the playoffs. The Orioles have totaled two runs and 10 hits in their last 29 innings. They're batting .186 on this road trip.

I opened my first postgame question to manager Buck Showalter yesterday by saying, "No matter what happens, most of the focus is going to be on the offense ..." Before I could continue, he asked, "By who?"

I paused before responding, "By fans, the media ..." I could have gone on and on, but Showalter said, "OK, OK," and allowed me to continue.

Sorry that I put you all first, but, yeah, I was backing the bus over you, just in case he cut me off sooner.

We're all seeing the same thing, but Showalter isn't going to point the finger in one direction. Win as a team, lose as a team.

If only the Orioles had figured out a little sooner that balls hit off the catwalk count as hits. Or if only Rogers Centre and Fenway Park had catwalks.

Is it too late to install them at Camden Yards for the final homestand? Chris Davis could get another extra-base hit on the catwalk. Yeah, on the catwalk. On the catwalk, yeah.

I understand that the fault doesn't lie entirely with the Orioles. They've gone up against some outstanding pitching. And yes, though you may cringe at the reference, sometimes you really do need to tip your caps. But Enny Romero? The kid fresh out of Double-A?

It's gotten that bad.

The Orioles also are hitting in some tough luck - except for the catwalk. Line drives are being caught. Michael Morse launches a ball into right-center field, and Wil Myers makes a sensational catch to preserve Tampa Bay's 1-0 lead.

When it rains, it pours, even inside a dome.


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