The Baltimore Orioles are officially in trouble.

After losing eight of its last 10 games, including six straight losses during that span, the Orioles now find themselves with a below .500 win/loss record for the first time this season.  With a 33-34 record as of June 18, Baltimore has fallen to fourth place in the American League East division. 

Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini, left, slides past St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Matt Bowman for a run on a passed ball in the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game in Baltimore, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Baltimore won 15-7. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

It’s hard to imagine that this Orioles team had once led the AL East standings during the first two months of the season, or that they were 10 games above .500 just a month ago.  Now they not only trail the first place New York Yankees (38-28) and Boston Red Sox (38-30) but also the Tampa Rays (36-35).

The sudden loss streak is being attributed to a offensive drought that Baltimore has experienced all season. Just about every report on the Orioles sounds like a broken record: “The offense is struggling,” or “what happened to the explosive offense the Orioles were expected to showcase?”  

That’s all the Orioles fan base has been hearing in 2017.  And it’s true. 

Baltimore was able to hide its underperforming offense early in the season with outstanding pitching and fielding. But the Orioles’ pitchers haven’t quite stood out for their quality play lately. The starting pitchers are now giving up a ton of early runs and the bullpen hasn’t been lights-out, as it was back in April and May.   

That’s resulting in a lot of blowout losses for Baltimore, such as its 11-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 16. 

The O’s bounced back on June 17 after a fine showing on offense. Four batters crushed home runs, including Manny Machado with his 13th homer of the year, and Mark Trumbo with his ninth. The Orioles went on to beat St. Louis, 15-7. 

The win, perhaps, can offer Baltimore fans a source of optimism. If the Orioles can play like that consistently, maybe they can reassert themselves among the top competitors in the league. But if Saturday’s win was just an aberration, fans should expect things to get real ugly as the rest of the season unfolds.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor