With 18 losses in a row, the Baltimore Orioles are close to a record-breaking losing streak

Dylan Bundy has done his best to give a promising vision for the future. It was in spring training 2019, when the Baltimore Orioles had...


Dylan Bundy has done his best to give a promising vision for the future. It was in spring training 2019, when the Baltimore Orioles had finished the previous season as the worst team in the major leagues. They were bad and they knew it, but teams like that can always have hope.

“I think we’ll look back maybe a year or two and see what we’ve had this year.” Bundy said, “and it will be a special time to see what has become of us.”

Bundy is now pitching for the Los Angeles Angels, and he will face the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Tuesday. He will see with his own eyes what has become of his old friends: the franchise that just can’t win.

The Orioles have lost 18 straight games, the longest losing streak in major tournaments since the Kansas City Royals lost 19 in a row games in 2005. The Orioles were outscored by 102 points during their skid and didn’t even suffer a one-point loss until Saturday against Atlanta.

It could be even worse. After three games against the Angels – including dazzling two-way star, Shohei Ohtani, begins Wednesday – the Orioles will host the Tampa Bay Rays, who have the best record in the American League.

If they lost all of those games, the Orioles would break the modern-era record for the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies of 23 straight losses. The 1889 Louisville Colonels – led primarily by William Van Winkle Wolf, who went through Chicken – hold the overall rating, with 26.

“We don’t like the fact that we’re here,” CEO Mike Elias said by phone Monday. “We want to get out of this. But we don’t think this reflects the progress that has been made in rebuilding this organization so that it returns to the fight. “

If baseball were boxing, this fight would have been called a long time ago, perhaps when the Orioles ended May with a 14-game losing streak. Or maybe the Orioles wouldn’t even have stepped in the ring: they weren’t dreaming of fighting this season anyway and could become the first team since the Mets’ expansion in the 1960s to lose at least 108 matches in three consecutive unabridged seasons. .

For Elias, a former Yale pitcher, there is a more recent parallel: the Houston Astros of the 2010s. Elias was an assistant general manager to Jeff Luhnow, who inherited the weaker team from the majors before the 2012 season and l ‘kept that way for two more years, exploiting a system that allows the worst teams to spend the most money on amateur talent.

The plan has worked for both the Astros and the Chicago Cubs, who both won championships in the 2010s, and as the players’ union negotiates a new collective agreement with Major League Baseball, it is hoping for rules. which discourage so-called tanking. But when Baltimore hired Elias in November 2018, a long, protracted rebuild seemed like the smart option.

Under Elias predecessor Dan Duquette, the Orioles led the AHL in regular season wins from 2012 to 2016. But the farming system was thin, the team had essentially given up on international scouting and their rivals had passed the Orioles in the use of data. Attendance had also collapsed.

“What are you doing?” said Elias. “For us, the answer was indisputable: we’re starting to build from scratch, we’re renovating the organization, we’re fixing and updating all of this infrastructure, and we’re starting to inject young talent into the system at every level possible. can. We devote all of our resources and energies to these goals, first and foremost, before we go ahead and do anything else. “

And here they are, with a 38-85 record, the worst in the major leagues, which reflects the slashed payroll. The highest paid pitcher in the Orioles, Matt Harvey, earns $ 1 million, and no one other than Chris Davis, who is retired, earns more than $ 4.75 million. The opening day payroll – $ 57 million, according to Baseball Prospectus – ranks 27th overall, ahead of just Miami, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Neither team is a candidate, but Tampa Bay has a low payroll (around $ 67 million on opening day) and is finding a way to win. The Rays are constantly looking for marginal improvements, often with bargains for veterans who can thrive in their environment – and their pitching is the antithesis of the Orioles’ staff.

The Baltimore starters have an earned-run average of 6.22; no team has been worse in a full season since the 2003 Texas Rangers, at 6.24. Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin, who showed promise last summer, combined to go 0-15 with a 7.62 ERA Among pitchers with at least 100 innings, Harvey (6.27) and Jorge Lopez (6.30) have the two highest ERA in majors.

The Orioles have two top-10 prospects in Baseball America’s mid-season standings, and both will help the staff in time: wide receiver Adley Rutschman (No.1) and right-hander Greyson Rodriguez (No.9). But starting at Camden Yards – especially now – can be a tough sell for free agents with other options.

“It’s a good stadium, but it’s a comfortable stadium, and you’re in a division where you face great lineups most of the time, and people are aware of that,” Elias said. “You historically look at some of the best performing Oriole teams since the park opened, and they have managed to do well with good but not good rotations and very strong enclosures.

“So we are aware that we believe that our ability to attract free agent launchers is likely to depend on our good team, first and foremost, and that we will need to import our launchers through trade or acquisitions as they are minor or amateur leaguers.

Bundy’s presence on Tuesday will be a reminder of how difficult this task can be. The Orioles were top-five in every year from 2007 to 2012, picking pitchers four times: Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Matt Hobgood and Brian Matusz. Only Gausman became an All-Star, and he had to leave Baltimore to do so.

A local Oriole, left-hander John Means, has become a rotating element. Three more – Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle and Cedric Mullins – could be part of the lineup for the Orioles’ next winning team.

For now, of course, a winning record seems like a fantasy. These Orioles would settle for a victory as soon as possible and would be happy to let the Louisville colonels fend for themselves.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With 18 losses in a row, the Baltimore Orioles are close to a record-breaking losing streak
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