When Orioles fans went to bed on Friday night April 18, 2014, the team’s record stood at 8-7. Coming off the 2013 season (85-77, 3rd place in AL East, no playoffs) the local fans were in wait and see mode. Was the team settling into mediocrity again or would they find the magic of the 2012 season and compete for the playoffs? The first two weeks were full of mixed messages.
Opening Day was great. A celebration of baseball and the team’s first playoff season in 15 years followed by a 2-1 win over the Red Sox with a save by closer Tommy Hunter. Things went south quickly from there. The Orioles lost their next four games as starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Bud Norris combined for 20 innings pitched and 20 runs allowed. Suddenly the team was 1-4 and things didn’t look so good.
The team salvaged the last game against Detroit and two of three against the Yankees at Camden Yards to get to a record of 4-5. Then the Blue Jays came to town. An 11-3 loss in the rubber match on Sunday April 13th sunk the Orioles to 5-7. There was unease in Birdland as neither the pitching nor the hitting nor the results seemed to indicate the O’s would be competitive. There was hope when the next three games resulted in wins against the Rays and Sox to bring the record to 8-7 but then two more losses to the Sox and it was 8-9.
But here’s the thing. It was April. Players were still shaking out the kinks. Buck was still figuring out what he had. Steve Pearce still hadn’t even been released by the Orioles yet much less reclaimed.
The 2014 Orioles finished with a 96-66 record after an 8-7 start.
The 2015 Orioles are 7-8.
Yes, there are problems. You know what? There were last year at this time too. There’s a long way to go. Don’t overreact. I know Buck isn’t.