Despite Sunday's bitter loss, it has been mostly good so far for the Orioles

Don't panic Birdland, don't panic.

In this social media age, which includes our blog comments here, we saw some big-time venting after the Orioles' loss last night. The fans now can react publicly and immediately and they do when it doesn't go well.

Don't hold it in, I guess.

OK, let's talk big picture first. The Orioles have won 15 of 25 games. They have won four straight series. They are 4-1 in five AL East series and 9-6 in AL East games. They are 8-5 in road games.

They even look good in run differential right now at a plus-25 to rank third in the AL. Remember how much time we wasted, er, I mean, spent on that stat last year.

After 25 games in 2012, they were 16-9 and one game out of first. After 25 this year, they are 15-10 and three games out of first.

The Red Sox have played 13 games already against teams with a current losing record. The Yankees have played 12. The Orioles have played nine.

But there have been two big bullpen meltdowns. In the season's second game, the O's blew a 4-0 lead in the sixth at Tampa Bay and lost 8-7. That night, the 'pen gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings, including two homers. Yesterday, the bullpen lost leads of 6-4 in the seventh and 8-6 in the ninth. The 'pen gave up five runs, including two homers, over 3 2/3 frames.

Of the 24 earned runs allowed by the bullpen on the year, 10 came in those two games.

As for Pedro Strop, some have forgotten that as of Sept. 3 last year, he had an ERA of 1.83 and average against of .190. In the playoffs, he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the ALDS and was the winning pitcher with two innings of shutout relief in the had-to-have-it Game 4. Lose there and they don't get to Game 5.

But, yes, Strop is struggling badly now and a segment of fans were hoping the Orioles told him to catch the wrong flight last night. They want him cut now. They wanted him cut last night.

I don't see it happening. He's out of options and I just think management has a long memory. They've seen him pitch well in the regular season, in the playoffs and in the WBC.

At just 27, he's too young to give up on and I will be shocked if they do. But how will they get him pitching well again without a minor league assignment?

They can try to pitch him in lower-pressure situations, but he came in with a four-run lead Saturday and lasted just two batters. We'll see how Buck and the brass handle this one.

The Orioles have not been a perfect team. They need more innings from their starters, tighter defense some nights and they need Strop to get his command and maybe his confidence back, too.

But they went 3-16 the previous five years at Oakland and 3-1 the last four games at Oakland. Keep it all in mind, Birdland.

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