Wayne Garland looks troubled. Maybe it's because he's stuck behind Jim Palmer, Mike Torrez, Mike Cuellar, Ross Grimsley, and even Doyle Alexander and he wonders if the Orioles will ever give him a good chance to crack the starting rotation. Or maybe it's just because the sun is setting behind him, and he dreads the uncertainty that nightfall brings.
Like Wayne Garland, I'm starting to feel troubled. The 2008 Orioles' first-half feel-good story is taking a familiar sharp left turn. Just when Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff, and company are churning out runs at an impressive rate, the pitching is falling apart. Three-fifths of the rotation can be counted on for no more than five innings, and the bullpen that was such an important part of the team's turnaround is in shambles. Matt Albers and Jamie Walker are injured, and Dennis Sarfate, Jim Johnson, and All-Star closer George Sherrill are suddenly surrendering even the largest of leads. To pile on, the defense is making crucial lapses that turn one-run innings into seven-run explosions. The Birds have lost five in a row to pretty mediocre competition, and now they head to a potential house of horrors in Boston for the final series before the All-Star Break. A ragtag bunch of rookies and unwanted veterans that was supposed to lose 100 games made it to the 88-game mark with a .500 record, but now they're two games below and the sun could be setting. Is it time to start trading off any veterans with sufficient value? Will this be the Baltimore swan song for Brian Roberts, Chad Bradford, and others?
I want to believe that anything is possible. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light, you Baltimore Orioles.